Some Kentucky lawmakers, with the backing, support, and legislative push of a vocal and powerful coalition of financially-interested health care groups, are setting their sights on pushing forward with their agenda of imposing unnecessary medical malpractice “reforms” that will benefit negligent health care providers at the expense of their malpractice victims, making it more costly and time-consuming for those injured by medical malpractice to seek just compensation for their injuries.
The coalition of boisterous proponents of laws protecting doctors and other health care providers from being responsible for the harms they negligently cause include the Kentucky Hospital Association, the Kentucky Medical Association, and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The coalition denounces “meritless” medical malpractice lawsuits, which is one of the siren calls of the health care profession when deflecting the right of victims of medical malpractice to receive fair and just compensation for the harms they and their families have suffered as a result of medical negligence.
One proposal that Kentucky lawmakers are considering is requiring that medical malpractice panels made up of “medical experts” decide the claims of medical malpractice victims before the victims are allowed to have an impartial jury decide their cases. The unspoken justification for creating such medical malpractice panels to intercede in medical malpractice cases is that juries cannot be trusted in medical malpractice cases to be capable of deciding the issues in such cases.
Our response: we trust juries to decide criminal cases in which defendants may have their freedoms revoked, their bodies imprisoned for decades or for the remainder of their lives, or their lives snuffed out by capital punishment, but lawmakers do not trust these same juries to decide cases where it is alleged that medical malpractice harmed patients?
The President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has been quoted as saying, “Now is the time for Kentucky to say enough is enough to the meritless lawsuits, which are having a huge impact on health-care costs.”
Our response: What are the facts in support of such an outlandish attack on medical malpractice victims? What is a “meritless lawsuit” and what are the statistics regarding meritless medical malpractice lawsuits in Kentucky? What, specifically, is the “huge impact” that “meritless medical malpractice lawsuits” has had in Kentucky? How many victims of medical malpractice in Kentucky have not received fair and just compensation for their injuries due to unfair and unjust laws in Kentucky?
Isn’t it time for the Kentucky legislators to protect the little guy harmed by medical malpractice instead of seeking to shield the small but powerful health care industry by cloaking medical providers with exclusive and unjustified protection from personal responsibility for harms they negligently cause their patients to suffer? Is Section 3 of the Kentucky Constitution inapplicable to negligent health care providers: “All men, when they form a social compact, are equal; and no grant of exclusive, separate public emoluments or privileges shall be made to any man or set of men, except in consideration of public services…”
Is Section 7 of the Kentucky Constitution ambiguous as it applies to medical malpractice cases: “The ancient mode of trial by jury shall be held sacred, and the right thereof remain inviolate, subject to such modifications as may be authorized by this Constitution.”
If you or a loved one in Kentucky or elsewhere in the United States may have been injured or suffered other serious harms as a result of medical malpractice, you should promptly consult with a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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