April 2, 2013, by Carol Gentry
Imagine a medical-malpractice system that resolves patients' complaints of harm quickly, without rancor or legal fees.
Imagine a system that would encourage the injured patient and doctors to discuss the event to reduce the risk of future mistakes.
Imagine a system that allows doctors to say "I'm sorry," without a legal risk, and that allows the patient to reply, "I know you didn't mean to hurt me. Let's figure out how to prevent it from happening again."
If you think such a system would draw universal hurrahs, you weren't watching the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Monday. It held a workshop on House Bill 897, which would replace the current laws on medical malpractice with a "Patients' Compensation System."
"This is not a no-fault system, it's a no-blame system," said its sponsor, State Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford. "It will revolutionize the practice of medicine."
Heavy-hitter lobbies disagreed, including the Florida Medical Association, trial attorneys, big business and the leading insurer for medical-malpractice policies, First Physicians Insurance Co., a Jacksonville-based subsidiary of The Doctors Co. The only supporters were a non-profit group formed around this issue, Patients for Fair Compensation, and a few researchers.
That intrigued State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. He said that if everyone who makes money in the system dislikes the proposal, "you may be onto something."
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