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Friday, December 12, 2003

CONTINUING THE ASSAULT ON MALPRACTICE PATIENTS' RIGHTS 

The Attack on Patient Rights
A top priority of the Bush Administration has been to push medical malpractice liability legislation through Congress. A bill defeated in the U.S Senate on July 9 would have severely limited access to justice for people injured by medical malpractice, improper HMO practices, unsafe medical products, and nursing home abuse and neglect. At a time when up to 98,000 people die each year in hospitals alone as a result of preventable medical errors, curtailing patient's access to the civil justice system and preventing victims from being able to obtain fair and just compensation is unjustified. The solution proposed by the medical lobby and the insurance industry is to reduce victims' rights, rather than address the wrongs against them. And according to the New York Times, the battle for patient rights will only intensify in the next legislative session.

Here in New York, doctors' groups and the insurance industry had tried to use the recent Desiderio decision to further reduce victims' rights. In the June 26, 2003 President's Post, NYSTLA President Jeffrey Lichtman explains the implications of the bill passed regarding CPLR Article 50-A. Please check NYSTLA's Headlines section for breaking news and developments in the medical malpractice battle, and check the Medical Malpractice section often for information on how you can respond to the attack on patient rights.

Today's top medical malpractice news:
In the New York State Legislature, OB-GYNs are asking lawmakers to help subsidize the costs of medical malpractice insurance.





THE CONTINUING EROSION OF VICTIMS' RIGHTS TO FAIR AND JUST COMPENSATION FOR PAIN, SUFFERING, LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OF LIFE, AND ECONOMIC LOSS, AS ORCHESTRATED BY PRESIDENT BUSH AND SENATOR/DOCTOR BILL FRIST, AND IN THIS CASE AS EXECUTED BY NEW YORK CITY MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG.

Bill Castro, who has been at his wife's side at Staten Island University Hospital since the October 15 Staten Island ferry crash, shed light on the difficulty of her recovery process: "I go as my wife goes," he said. "If she doesn't have a good day, I don't have a good day." In the Staten Island ferry crash, Castro's wife, Debra, lost half of her right leg, all of her left leg, part of her pelvis and her ear, which had to be reattached. She is still in a drug-induced coma. "It can be frustrating that you can't get an answer from the doctor because he doesn't have one. He's never experienced anything like it," Castro said. "It's like she's ... stepped on a land mine." According to the State Island Advance, Bill Castro said he has still has not seen all of his wife's injuries and worries about her reaction when she wakes up.

New York City, backed by Mayor Bloomberg, has requested a limitation of liability to $14.4 million and encouraged victims to forego legal representation. The City is relying on a 150-year-old federal maritime law written with cargo -- not passenger -- ships in mind, which has struck some as "grossly unfair," according to The New York Times. In a related story, federal prosecutors have been investigating the conduct of Patrick Ryan, the director of ferry operations for the city's Department of Transportation, for failing to enforce regulations regarding the positioning of pilots during ferry trips.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THE CITY OF NEW YORK WILL BE FULLY REPRESENTED IN ANY PROCEEDING BY ITS OWN CORPORATION COUNSEL, MICHAEL CARDOZO. THE VICTIMS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE LEGAL COUNSEL.

For more information about the continuing erosion and planned obliteration of victims' rights please visit
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