Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Proposed Pennsylvania bill may provide immunity to medical providers

Pennsylvania plans on establishing procedures for information concerning medical errors, medical malpractice claims and suspensions of doctors and various medical providers within the state. However, a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House would also provide protection for medical providers that supply information to the database. The purpose of the bill is to prevent such information from being used as an admission of wrongdoing on the part of those medical providers that submit information to the database.

There is a great deal of opposition to the bill because of the fear that certain patient's injured due to medical malpractice may be deprived of any opportunity to receive compensation due to their injuries. It would also take away any incentive for vendors to improve their products and would extend legal immunity to the wrong individuals.

Though such a database is designed to bring transparency to the area of medical malpractice, the fact that such legislation is being considered reveals how legally complicated it can be to discover accurate medical information concerning doctors and medical providers. This database and other information available online are only a tool that patients can use to find competent medical care. Such a tool will not prevent medical malpractice from occurring.

Hospitals and medical staff need to be held accountable for medical errors, and this will not occur without the presence of lawsuits. Without such lawsuits in place, medical providers will fail to implement strategies that would prevent these occurrences from occurring. Judging from the complexity and expense of bringing such a lawsuit, no successful medical malpractice claim will likely be successfully litigated without the advice and counsel of an attorney experienced in this particular and very specialized area.

Source: iHealthBeat, "Bill to Provide More Protection for HER Users Faces Opposition," Nov. 29, 2011

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