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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New OHSU malpractice cap: $500K? $875K?

I see that Senator Vicki is getting somewhere with legislation to raise the obscenely low $200,000 liability ceiling currently enjoyed by Oregon Health Sciences University and Magic Kingdom. The new numbers knocking around Salem are in the $500,000 to $875,000 range. Even the new guy raking in the big bucks as head of OHSU says he thinks it's a good idea.

As discussed here on previous occasions, I was thinking something along the order of $2 million would be fair. But whatever you do, please, legislators, catch up with the 20th Century and have the number automatically adjusted every year for inflation!

Comments (7)

Better yet, adjusted every year for health care inflation.

After all, most of the money that is awarded for damages in those cases goes for long-term health care for the victim.

It could be worse. I was just reading an article about Virginia's version of the tort cap--it's $100,000, as I'm sure the victim's families at Virginia Tech just found out.

I am not at all sure that the $100,000 cap to which you refer applies to a state university. For that, I think I'd ask a Virginia lawyer. The doctrine of sovereign immunity varies from state to state. It may be that the cap is zero, or it may not apply at all. To start the speculation, go here.

Well, you're right. Just because it applies to state universities in Oregon doesn't mean it would in Virginia.

However, the article I read (via yahoo--that I can't locate at the moment) quoted the lawyer that sued the law school in Virginia when a student killed people in a very similar circumstance (which was a private school). He acknowledged that sovereign immunity was a problem for anyone wishing to sue Virginia Tech, for whatever that is worth.

I don't disagree that sovereign immunity is an issue in the Virginia Tech case. I don't think the $100,000 figure is going to apply, however.

Given that I'm scheduled to deliver at OHSU in a couple of months, I'm somewhat disturbed that I noted the story, was relieved about it, then annoyed it wouldn't apply to me.

Maybe I'll bring this up the next time one of the perinatologists asks if I have any concerns they haven't addressed yet.

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