brought to you by Sick Of Lawsuits
 Volume XX December 21, 2004 

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"Recently, 61 lawsuits in 23 states have been filed alleging that not-for-profit hospitals have breached their government obligation to provide charitable medical care to uninsured patients. This litigation is an assault by trial attorneys on America's not-for-profit hospitals and is threatening patients' access to quality health care. These lawsuits are less about care for the poor, the sick, and the uninsured than about lining the pockets of wealthy trial attorneys." - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Statement on lawsuits against not-for-profit hospitals, December 1, 2004

Lawsuit Abuse News

More lawsuit abuse news on

Judicial Hellholes
"A compendium of the worst courts in the United States, the third annual 'Judicial Hellholes' report & tells a remarkable tale of how Mississippi has turned its civil-justice system around, and graduated from this list. Meanwhile, litigation woes worsened and metastasized in this year's list-topper, Madison County, Ill &. Over half the region's doctors have been sued in the last four years, even though 85% of claims result in no payment to the plaintiff. Many of the region's hospitals have eliminated high-risk practices like on-call trauma care. The two counties' hospitals have lost 161 physicians &. Until Congress passes strong national laws to reform our broken civil-justice system, we'll be stuck with trial lawyer tourists and the hellholes in which they thrive." Sherman Joyce, Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2004

No Vaccine for the Litigation Lottery
"This year's flu-vaccine shortfall is just one of many dangerous shortages of essential vaccines - and it need not have happened. Congress has been holding hearings to try to affix blame but seems determined to ignore the broader questions: How did we get to the point where the entire nation's health is jeopardized by a single vaccine manufacturer's inability to meet the demand during one flu season? A large part of the answer is

litigation. Lawsuits are killing us &. Drug and vaccine manufacturers are tempting targets for litigation. The threat of liability suits - even in the absence of evidence of any wrongdoing or product defect - makes these companies wary, but it also shifts their focus from whether the product actually is safe to how vulnerable the product is to lawsuits." Henry Miller, Biloxi Sun-Herald, December 14, 2004

Paying the Price
"The flood of personal injury ads recruiting plaintiffs to join class-action lawsuits against the maker of Vioxx is a stark reminder of how ripe a target our health care system is for lawsuits. While Vioxx is the case du jour, the sad truth is that on any given day you will find an abundance of personal injury lawyers suing every element of our health care system &. While some personal injury lawyers are making a fortune on these types of lawsuits, patients are paying the price with higher costs, less innovation and less access to care." Dr. Evelyn Tobias Merrill, Houston Business Journal, November 12, 2004

Sick Of Lawsuits

Texas Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups and the Sick of Lawsuits campaign held press conferences in Corpus Christi, Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur to raise awareness on the impact of lawsuit abuse on our healthcare system. Texas Sick of Lawsuits spokesperson Dr. Evelyn Tobias Merrill warned patients not to believe everything they see in a personal injury lawyer advertisement and not to join a lawsuit if they have not been injured. Lawsuit abuse, said Dr. Merrill, increases the cost of health care, reduces innovation and delays justice for the truly injured.

Legislative Update

Comprehensive civil justice reform legislation passed Ohio's General Assembly on December 7 and heads to Governor Taft for his expected approval. The bill, which is a culmination of a multiyear effort, includes a $500,000 limit on pain and suffering awards for non-severe injuries and restrictions on fast food lawsuits. - The Associated Press, December 8, 2004

Legislation to create a review panel for medical malpractice claims in Wyoming heads to the state's legislature for debate. The bill, a result of a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November, would require every medical malpractice lawsuit in the state, not subject to arbitration, to come before a review panel composed of two health care providers, two attorneys and one lay person before going to trial. - The Associated Press, December 11, 2004

Our Broken Healthcare Liability System

The Stats

61: Percentage of Americans who support medical malpractice reforms to limit the amount juries can award patients for pain and suffering and punitive damages. Harris Interactive poll for the Wall Street Journal Online, PR Newswire, November 30, 2004

70: Percentage of Maryland's obstetricians and gynecologists that have been sued at least once, with the average settlement exceeding $1 million. "Medical Malpractice: Is It Time for Tort Reform in MD?" Maryland Public Policy Institute, December 7, 2004

161: The number of physicians in the recently named Judicial HellholesTM of Madison and St. Clair Counties, Illinois who will have been forced to leave the region by the end of the year due to a lawsuit-driven healthcare crisis. "Judicial HellholesTM 2004," American Tort Reform Association, December 15, 2004

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