Last Sunday’s Conversation focused on the 38-year-old Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which capped damages for pain and suffering at $250,000 in medical malpractice cases. The case of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, who has been ruled brain-dead after a tonsillectomy, gives attention to a possible initiative on the November ballot that would alter the cap. We asked readers: Should damages for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice case be capped at $250,000?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Raise medical negligence cap
Re “Jahi’s fight for life turns political” (Forum, Dan Morain, Jan. 5): Two of my close family members, both now deceased, suffered years of pain and disability as a result of supposedly routine medical procedures that were botched. As a result, I’m all too aware of the limitations of our health care system and of our legal system.
Folks who have been damaged by the health care system should have their day in court and deserve compensation. No amount of money can replace life and health. However, an award for pain and suffering validates that wrong has been done and holds someone accountable.
The award needs to be an amount that wakes up health care providers to the depth of the destruction they have caused. For that reason, if I get the chance, I’ll vote wholeheartedly to raise the cap on monetary awards for pain and suffering from medical negligence.
– Mary Lou Giles, Cameron Park
Stand up for injured patients
As someone who is caring for someone suffering from a doctor’s mistake, I can tell you the medical malpractice law needs to be changed. The bills are mounting and my mother’s care rides on my shoulders. Because of the $250,000 cap on potential compensation, it is extremely hard for me to find anyone willing to help me stand up for justice on behalf of my mother.
Yet the doctor’s lack of care has meant my mother changed from an independent, walking senior to someone needing round-the-clock care.
– Melissa Tereck, Dixon