Medical Malpractice Cap in Catastrophic Case of Negligence Harms Young Man November 2, 2011.

When doctors and insurance companies focus more on saving money than paying for medical malpractice, something is wrong with the system.

When bad things happen to good people, they need help from the justice system, not a cold shoulder.

This reported case is disturbing because of what it says about lawmakers and politicians, as well as people’s inability to understand how the tort system should work when medical malpractice is involved. The story is about a 17-year-old young man who has to face significant life challenges thanks to medical malpractice.

The mother knew there was something wrong with her twins. Once active, the twins’ movement gradually decreased over time. The mother grew concerned about her pregnancy and went to her doctor. The doctor sent her home, saying there was nothing to worry about. Two days later, her babies stopped moving completely. At that point, doctors ordered an ultrasound. It showed the twins were in major distress.

When they were delivered, neither baby was breathing. Tests on one of the twins indicated he was not getting air and had suffered major brain trauma. The mother was then told that most children born like that died within a year or so due to complications. The good news is that both babies survived, but their paths in life became dramatically different. The baby with brain damage began his life as a special needs baby and at 17 years old, still requires intensive, constant care. This is an expensive condition to say the least.

The family did file, and win a medical malpractice lawsuit against the ob-gyn. The jury awarded $5.6 million for the boy’s lifetime medical expenses and his pain and suffering. The state where he lives, Nebraska, has a medical malpractice cap that limits the amount a doctor is responsible for, which means that the boy and his family will only receive $1.25 million. They will not be left with enough monies to care for the boy should something happen to them. Where is the justice in that?

In order to care for the young boy for the rest of his life, it would take roughly $12.4 million. The initial award was $5.6 million, which would have helped significantly, but when the medical malpractice cap is applied, that number drops to just about negligible in terms of providing care for their son. Do not forget that they will also still need to pay legal bills.

Unfortunately, a doctor’s negligence destroyed a young man’s life and the doctor will only have to pay a mere fraction of what the actual damages are. The Nebraska Medical Association is fine with the cap, because they think medical malpractice claims in states without them means higher insurance rates and health care costs. When the Association was asked what they thought about this particular case, they said the cap served the state well, and there were always a few exceptions.

A few exceptions? That is a major understatement. And how does a medical malpractice cap serve the state well when someone’s life will never be the same because of a medical mistake? When doctors and insurance focus more on saving money than paying for medical malpractice, something is wrong with the system.

No matter where you live, if you feel you are the victim of medical malpractice, seek expert legal counsel. If you live in Ohio, contact a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer and find out how the system works. Find out what to expect if you choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and what it may mean in terms of an outcome. Your Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer will have all the answers.