Medical Malpractice Bill Passes Senate

Mar 3, 2011

A bill that would limit the amount of monetary damages for patients harmed by doctors has passed the State Senate. The measure would limit awards to $500,000. It would also make it more difficult to sue emergency room doctors.

Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville says the bill would help lower malpractice insurance premiums for doctors and therefore bring more physicians to the state. He told fellow lawmakers he's been working on the measure for years.

" I started in 2003 when I first came here. And so this has not been a rush to judgment. This has been a long thought out and discussed process. And I'm sure it's not over yet. This is the start and I ask for your support."

But two state Supreme Court cases say limits on compensatory damages are unconstitutional. Opponents of the measure say if the bill becomes law it will be challenged in the courts. The measure passed 36-to-13 in the Senate. It now goes to lawmakers in the House.