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Shuttered Las Vegas Trauma Center Gets 45-Day Reprieve

July 13, 2002|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Nevada's only top-level trauma center will reopen today, 10 days after it shut down because of soaring malpractice insurance rates for doctors, officials said.

"This is a good day," Anthony Serfustini, an orthopedic surgeon, said Friday inside an empty trauma center at University Medical Center.

About 15 orthopedic surgeons in private practice have agreed to become Clark County employees for 45 days, meaning they will be covered by the hospital's $50,000 liability cap.

The trauma center closed July 3 after all but one of the medical center's 58 orthopedic doctors resigned, saying they couldn't afford rising malpractice insurance premiums.

A trauma center can't operate without orthopedic surgeons because the majority of trauma patients have broken bones.

Gov. Kenny Guinn said Friday that the 45-day period will give him time to call the state Legislature into special session to consider a law to cap jury awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

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