It is true that some healthcare providers (doctors) feel malpractice lawsuits should not exist. However, I think this only stems from the fact that their existence potentially affects the doctors’ pockets. I wonder how they would feel about filing a malpractice lawsuit themselves if it were a member of their family who was injured by the negligence of a healthcare organization or another doctor. Such is the case of a 2-year-old girl from Sacramento who ended up an amputee because the emergency room took too long to see her when she was stricken with a septic infection. She almost died from waiting to be seen over five hours (Rice, 2011). Also according to Rice (2011), as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation, out of the 85,000 malpractice lawsuits filed each year, 10,739 of them had money paid out in 2009, with an average payout of $400,000 for the plaintiffs. Although this is a substantial amount of money, it is arguably not worth a baby losing her limbs.
As it relates to malpractice lawsuits having a cap or limit on how compensation plaintiffs receive for emotional distress, pain, and suffering, I feel like there really should be no cap if the lawsuit is for the loss of life. However, I could agree to a cap on this type of compensation based on the severity and nature of the lawsuits. After all, there are those who file frivolous lawsuits and should not be paid large sums of money. For example, there are many who remember the woman who sued McDonald’s, years ago, because she was driving with a cup of hot coffee between her legs when it spilled and burned her between the legs. She won a $2 million lawsuit because McDonald’s did not tell her that the coffee was hot. To me, that was frivolous.
Rice, S. (2011, March 24). Harmed in the hospital? Should you sue? Retrieved from CNN Health: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/24/ep.malpractice.sue.or.not/index.html