11th Dec 2008,
PHOENIX — A veteran state lawmaker is trying again to make it harder for those injured in hospital emergency rooms to sue for damages.
Sen. Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale, said Wednesday she is introducing legislation that would require a patient to prove malpractice by "clear and convincing evidence" to win a lawsuit. That is a heavier burden than current law, which says jurors can decide in favor of the patient if they believe it is more likely than not that the doctor committed malpractice.
Allen, who chairs the Committee on Healthcare and Liability Reform, cited a new study by the American College of Emergency Physicians that gives Arizona an "F" in access to emergency care.
She said that grade is based on the unwillingness of doctors to work in emergency rooms. And that, Allen said, is due in part to the fear of lawsuits.
"We have a shortage of doctors," she said. "And the fact that we could make it easier for them to want to go into emergency-room doctoring could be nothing but a good thing."
But Tucson attorney JoJene Mills said the change would make it virtually impossible for anyone injured to sue successfully. . . Read More