Hawaii Lawmakers Should Focus on What to Do About Medical Malpractice, Not Tort Reform

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To the Editor:

In her State of the State address, Gov. Linda Lingle called for malpractice tort reform to limit non-economic damages for pain and suffering and for other action to help the medical community.


We have heard far too much from tort reformers about so called “jackpot justice” and “frivolous” lawsuits, and too little about the real root of the problem: medical malpractice.

The majority of doctors, insurance companies, and politicians beholden to them have been putting the proverbial cart before the horse to the detriment of medical malpractice victims.

Fortunately, enough Hawaii legislators have not been led down the garden path cultivated by tort reformers that leads to a cap on non-economic damages that serves the interest of doctors and insurance companies but not victims of medical malpractice.

It is a monstrous irony that the third-leading cause of death in this country after heart problems and cancer is adverse reaction to medical treatment and medical mistakes. Can anyone doubt that this outrage needs to be addressed?

There are, of course, good doctors, more good ones than bad, but they lose their luster when they stand behind that lamentable white wall of silence and do nothing to rid the medical profession of doctors who do far more harm than good.

It is my hope that Hawaii legislators will eschew the usual debate on tort reform and consider what to do about medical mistakes, the adverse reaction to medical treatment, a way to weed out bad doctors, and a way to make health care more affordable for the citizens of Hawaii.

”’Jane Marshall is a resident of Dover, Tennessee. Reach her via email at mailto:Mjmarshall7@aol.com”’