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Medical Malpractice In Legislature’s Crosshairs

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Florida lawmakers are pushing tort reform front and center as they consider a proposal that would shield hospitals from malpractice lawsuits if they contract with doctors who end up harming patients.

The bill is backed by doctors and hospitals and could be one of many attempts by the GOP-controlled legislature to put stringent limits on lawsuits against medical providers, according to the News Service of Florida.

Critics said it will make things more difficult for patients who are harmed to get compensation for medical errors.

“When is enough enough?” asked attorney Marcus Michles who represented the Florida Justice Association during a House committee meeting.

The controversial new bill would also put limits on out-of-state expert witnesses, who are often brought in as neutral parties to help balance the risk of doctors in the same state/city covering for doctors who they may be acquainted with.

Any expert witness would have to go through a state certification progress, regardless if they’re certified by another state in any way.

In addition, the bill would make it more difficult to prove that doctors made a mistake by not ordering or performing what are described as “supplemental” diagnostic tests, according to the News Service of Florida.

The bill, proposed by Mike Horner of Kissimmee, is one of several that are taking aim at trying to protect and shield doctors from malpractice lawsuits.

After Rick Scott made tort reform a major goal of his administration, it will become a lot tougher for patients to reap any financial winnings against the medical profession.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

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