As doctor slash lawyer Bradley I. Kramer, MD, Esq., has written about before, it might be about time for doctors to be subjected to mandatory drug testing, at least in certain instances. And thanks to a new proposed initiative, that just might happen. Under the law, a California doctor who is involved in a preventable medical error would potentially be subjected to a drug / alcohol test.
The proposed law is part of a medical malpractice initiative that has been placed on the November ballot. Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error. An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Los Angeles can help you determine if you have been the victim of med mal.
The measure seeks to modify the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, which was signed in 1975, and caps malpractice damage caps for pain and suffering at approximately $250,000. This essentially means that no matter how badly you are injured by a doctor’s negligence, the most you can recover in compensatory damages is $250,000. The proposed bill asks for an increase of the pain and suffering damages cap to $1.1 million, and index the cap to inflation. Consumer advocacy groups, who are supporting the measure, say that the increase is needed to protect victims of medical negligence. Not surprisingly, this bill is opposed by many insurance companies and medical groups.
As part of the same bill, doctors in California would be required to face testing for drug and alcohol use after they are involved in a preventable medical error. Additionally, a doctor would be required to report to the California Medical Board if he is aware that another doctor uses drugs or alcohol while on the job. If doctors do not submit to screening, or test positive for drug or alcohol use on the job, their licenses may be suspended.
Sadly, acohol and drug use is a serious problem in the medical community. One investigation by USA Today found that as many as 100,000 persons, including doctors and nurses, are addicted to drugs or have substance abuse problems. The California Medical Board has estimated that 18% of doctors have suffered from substance abuse problems in their lifetime.
For more information on medical malpractice in Los Angeles, contact the aggressive trial lawyers at BIKLAW today.