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The fallacies of a birth injury fund [Letter]

There are two glaring fallacies in the editorial "More study needed on birth injury bill" (March 13).

The first is that medical malpractice awards affect practice closings. There is no credible evidence to support this. This "medical myth" keeps surfacing, despite lots of evidence to the contrary.

The second is that only well to do families will be able to "afford" to hire good attorneys and pay witnesses. Plaintiffs lawyers do not charge clients but take a portion of an award should they win.

The real tragedy is that medical malpractice caps limit the ability of malpractice firms to take on cases unless there is a strong likelihood that the award will provide meaningful compensation for the family, plus cover the law firm's expenses, which often run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This economic dynamic leaves most seriously hurt patients and their families without judicial recourse, forces them into bankruptcy, and shifts the medical burdens onto taxpayers.

Teresa P. Kelly

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