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Michigan Senate Bill Aims To Further Weaken Patients' Rights

In Michigan, victims of medical malpractice already face long odds for recovering any money damages. The chance of getting fully compensated for the harm inflicted upon them is even more remote. That is why it's mind-boggling that some state politicians are still lobbying for further medical malpractice law reform.

Specifically, the proposed law would absolve doctors from liability if they thought they thought they were doing what was best for the patient when they committed the professional negligence. The law would give a free pass to incompetent doctors and leave injured patients without legal recourse.

Incredibly, legislators are pushing for passage of Senate Bill 1116 just weeks after new medical malpractice statistics released by Public Citizen showed that 2011 had the lowest payout of malpractice damages ever recorded, after factoring in inflation. That number is especially telling because the cost of U.S. health care rose 5 percent, evidencing what Michigan malpractice attorneys have known for a long time: Lawsuits are not the cause of the outrageous cost of American health care.

Medical malpractice claims accounted for 0.12 percent of the cost of health care in 2011, an incredibly meager sum - especially when considering that thousands of Michigan patients were victims of serious harm or wrongful death from doctors' mistakes last year. The vast majority of those patients didn't even get a penny for their injuries.

Don't buy what supporting politicians tell you about Senate Bill 1116, inappropriately dubbed the "Patients First Reform Package." The substance of this proposed law will not lower the cost of health care but will likely eliminate your ability to recover compensation if you or a loved one is ever seriously harmed by an act of medical negligence.

Source:, "Protestors Turn Out Against Michigan Malpractice Immunity Bill," Austin Kirk, July 20, 2012

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