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Monetary Cap on Malpractice

October 19, 1987

In his brutally biased and grievously flawed piece, doctor-lawyer Kussman says everything like it isn't. The best thing I can say about his article is that it is just one trial lawyer's sordid opinion. Even the California Trial Lawyer's Assn. does not agree with him.

I emphasize and I think all of us must appreciate that the way we handle resolution of medical malpractice matters is the concern of all of us--patients, doctors, lawyers, everybody. In every incidence of medical malfeasance justice must be done. It is and always has been the position of medicine that every patient who suffers injury while being treated, whether because of negligence or an honest mistake or any other cause, is entitled to appropriate compensation.

Contrary to Kussman's allegations or implication, the present liability system has more than ample means to provide just compensation. There is no limit on economic damage.

MICRA is the best medical malpractice law in the U.S. Though professional liability premiums in California are high ($30-40,000 a year for an obstetrician/gynecologist), they are about half of what they are in other large states in the U.S. In Florida, for example the malpractice premium for OB/Gyns is approximately $100,000. That premium has made the fees for delivering babies outrageous.

If it weren't for MICRA California would be in the same sorry shape.

GARY F. KRIEGER, M.D.

President

L.A. County Medical Assn.

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