In the ever continuing medical malpractice and health care debate a new proposal has emerged. This involves what are being referred to as “health courts” which would force all medical malpractice cases out of the court system. While these courts promise faster, more reliable system of resolving medical malpractice claims, they do not paint all sides of the story.
The Pop Tort explained that health courts are a terrible, anti-patient and highly-controversial concept that has both consumer groups and victims of medical negligence strongly opposed to them. They force all medical malpractice cases into an administrative system based on the failing worker’s compensation model. However, this system would be even worse because patients would still have to prove a form of negligence and the decision-makers would come from the medical community. Immediately, the right to jury trial has become eliminated. Also, the courts would have few accountability mechanisms, few procedural safeguards and no meaningful appeals process. There may be a schedule of benefits and a severe cap on non-economic damages. Most importantly, these courts are unconstitutional. By taking away the right to a jury, these courts are in direct opposition to the constitution.
Ray De Lorenzi, a spokesman for the American Association for Justice, stated that health courts would involve a new expensive bureaucracy. Health courts would do nothing to eliminate the 98,000 people who die every year from preventable medical error. He told TheHill.com that fixing preventable medical errors, not creating new bureaucracies, is the right solution. To read more about health courts, please click the link.