"It is much cheaper to let the Baby die instead of getting stuck with the economic damages..."
Beth Stover, a woman whose baby died while under the care of Kaiser Permanente in California, sent me a wonderful letter and linked to her story at Kaiser Permanente Thrive Exposed. That site appears to have a wealth of information about Kaiser Permanente and is worth reading.
If you only have time to read one post at that site, look at Beth Stover's story and all the roadblocks she's run into trying to get justice. The following excerpt about damage caps is an excellent argument against them.
ROADBLOCK Number 3: California’s MICRA and Kaiser’s own version of MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act)
This is a BIG ROADBLOCK and one that works very well for Kaiser and any other healthcare provider that has adopted the practice of providing negligent care, or should I say “withholding care”. MICRA is a law enacted back in 1975. Yes, 1975! This puts a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases in California. My Baby’s life is not worth enough money in California for a lawyer to be interested. It’s not a good business decision financially for lawyers to take on malpractice cases UNLESS the Baby/patient will need a lifetime of care. This brings us back to the missing fetal heart monitor in my case. Kind of makes us wonder if my Baby was left to die after discovering possible brain damage had already taken place. It is MUCH cheaper to let the Baby die instead of getting stuck with the economic damages that might have applied if Lehna had lived. This should have been my decision, NOT a financial decision made by Kaiser. I would have chosen to let Lehna live.
Not only do you have MICRA to go up against in California, but Kaiser saw how well MICRA prevented lawyers from going after them for medical malpractice that they decided to enforce a double whammy and put a $250,000 cap on any future Kaiser Members everywhere, who experienced medical malpractice within Kaiser. MICRA and Kaiser’s $250,000 cap is a LICENSE TO NOT PRACTICE MEDICINE since it prevents Kaiser from being pursued in the all too common event that medical malpractice has taken place. There seems to be no recourse for many Kaiser members and Californians due to the fact that finding a lawyer who will take these cases is next to impossible. ALL Kaiser members, not just in California, need to read the fine print in their agreement with Kaiser.
“In the cold calculations of medical malpractice, a brain-damaged baby is worth more than a dead baby. The brain-damaged baby will need a lifetime of specialized care.”
“Arbitrary caps on “non-economic” compensation unfairly discriminate against the suffering of women — who typically sustain injuries due to medical negligence, such as laceration of the uterus or loss of a new born during child birth, that do not carry high “economic” price tags but involve significant loss. Injuries sustained by homemakers are also unvalued, because they have no “wage loss.” Caps not only deny women victimized by medical malpractice fair compensation and legal representation for their injuries, but subject women to repeat offenders and have been undeterred.”
Immediately after the italicized quote above is a link to testimony that Jamie Court of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights gave before the U.S. Congress in 2002. It too is a good read, as is just about anything from Jamie Court and the FTCR.
Cross-posted to TortDeform