According to YesOn46.org, the number of deaths in hospitals every year from medical errors is equal to the number of people who would die in two jumbo jet crashes every day.
Two days ago Los Angeles Times reporter Seema Mehta wrote that well-known consumer advocate Ralph Nader "blasted" Gov. Jerry Brown because of Brown's apparent unwillingness to support Proposition 46, the bill that would raise the damages cap on pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases from $250K to $1.1M. (See "Nader assails Brown for not backing Prop. 46 to raise lawsuit caps.")
"It's inexplicable to me," Mehta quotes Nader. "It's disappointing beyond my ability to explain to you." Nader is undoubtedly referring to history here. As Mehta points out, Gov. Brown once vocally opposed California's 1975 damages cap, saying then that it did not lower healthcare costs and only had an "arbitrary and cruel" impact on injured patients.
The 'Arbitrary and Cruel' Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act
Gov. Brown originally signed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA, into law in 1975. This law has been on the books in California ever since then. It has continually been constitutionally challenged, yet upheld. The law puts a cap of $250,000 on pain and suffering damages awarded to patients who were injured as a result of medical negligence.
It doesn't matter how badly someone was hurt, like Annette Ramirez, who underwent a botched hysterectomy in which doctors erroneously severed her colon, which led to an infection that spread throughout her body.
All of Ramirez's limbs were amputated. She calls the MICRA damages cap "almost an insult" and "criminal." "My hope is," Ramirez says, "that this bill gets passed."
On the Nov. 2014 Ballot: Vote Yes on Prop 46
Ramirez wants Californians to vote yes on Prop 46, which would increase the cap from $250K to $1.1M, giving people the chance to obtain justice after having been seriously injured because of a doctor's or other healthcare provider's negligence.