Senate panel puts medical-malpractice laws under microscope

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A Senate committee Tuesday began considering whether to make changes in Florida’s medical-malpractice laws, reviving a debate that has flared repeatedly during the past decade.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Lee said he wanted to get a sense of how other lawmakers view a series of proposals floating in the Legislature and has not decided how he wants to proceed. “We want to be thoughtful, deliberate and get it right,” Lee said after the meeting. The proposals, for example, would place an additional restriction on expert witnesses who testify against doctors in medical-malpractice cases.

Also, Tallahassee physician Richard Thacker urged approval of a proposal that would stiffen legal requirements for proving that doctors have committed malpractice by not doing medical tests. “Every lawsuit changes a doctor, and generally not for the better, whether they are the defendant or not,” Thacker said. But attorneys who represent plaintiffs said the changes are unnecessary and would further limit the ability of malpractice victims to get compensated for their injuries. “Their (the proponents’) proposals do not increase the safety of Florida residents, nor do they reduce the costs associated with medical care,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Ken Sobel, who chairs a medical-malpractice committee for the Florida Justice Association, a trial lawyers group.

Via The News Service of Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.