Controversial Medical Malpractice Bill Passes

Jun 10, 2011

Lawmakers have approved a controversial bill that would limit the amount of monetary damages for patients harmed by emergency room doctors' malpractice.

In most cases, the bill would cap a physician's malpractice responsibility at five hundred thousand dollars for death, disfigurement, permanent injury or loss of a body part. Republican sponsor Johnathan Rhyne says the measure is the result of a bipartisan effort between lawmakers. 

Johnathan Rhyne: "This bill does a lot of good things to ensure access to justice. It's been a work in progress that has not been rushed, far from it. We've been working on this for months and months."
But some Democrats say capping what are called non-economic damages at half a million dollars penalizes stay at home mothers, children, and the elderly who don't earn paychecks, while those who do work will still be able to sue for lost wages and compensatory damages. The bill now goes to Governor Bev Perdue.