As a trial attorney licensed in both Texas and Pennsylvania who handles medical malpractice cases, the evidence that blanket tort reform does not work is clear. In Texas, mental anguish damages are arbitrarily capped at $250,000.00. Tell the woman who goes in for a mastectomy and comes out with the wrong breast removed that this is fair. I personally have seen cases where the injustice is obvious, such as the psychiatric patient who is allowed to walk out of a psychiatric facility is killed and isn’t even missed for two days. Even in cases where doctors fraudulently alter medical records, they can be held to this patently unfair limit.
Texas is the acid test for such legislation and ten years later it is obvious that health care costs are not reduced while patients’ rights are severely diminished. According to the Austin American Statesman, a new study found no evidence that health care costs in Texas dipped after a 2003 constitutional amendment limited payouts in medical malpractice lawsuits.
The researchers, who include University of Texas law professor Charles Silver, examined Medicare spending inTexas counties and saw no reduction in doctors' fees for seniors and disabled patients between 2002 and 2009. A 2003 voter campaign in Texas, and some congressional backers of Texas-style tort reform in every state, however, argued that capping damage awards would not only curb malpractice lawsuits and insurance costs for doctors, it would lower costs for patients while boosting their access to physicians. The only winners under such a system are the special interest groups.