Last month, North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue vetoed a medical malpractice reform bill that would cap certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering, and that would protect emergency room doctors from some types of malpractice lawsuits. This week, North Carolina lawmakers voted to override the veto and pass the reforms into law. They are scheduled to take affect in October.

What are the consequences of these reforms? Supporters of the law believe that it will save money and discourage frivolous lawsuits while at the same time attracting more doctors to North Carolina. Opponents to the bill, however, believe that it will only harm the victims of medical mistakes and discourage lawyers from even taking on some valid malpractice cases. Even more troubling is the fact that two other states in the nation have already found medical malpractice caps to be unconstitutional.

What do we think? We think that lawmakers should be focusing on the huge, deadly problem of medical errors in North Carolina’s doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes. It seems shocking to us that so much attention is placed on damages and malpractice trials when the real issue is that tens of thousands of North Carolina residents are harmed or lose their life because of a surgical error, medication error, or treatment error each year. If we were really interested in saving money, saving lives, and seeing fewer med mal trials, we would be looking at the cause and not the symptoms. 
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