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Michigan Bills Restrict Malpractice Suits in Emergency Settings

Written by Molly Gamble | July 18, 2012

Two proposed Michigan bills would restrict the type of patients who can sue physicians for medical malpractice and raise the burden of proof to sue for malpractice. 
Under Senate Bill 1110 (pdf), providers would not be liable for medical malpractice in emergency departments or obstetrics units operated by a hospital. Providers would also not be liable for malpractice in a surgical operating room, cardiac catheterization laboratory or radiology department if the patient had immediately received care in the emergency department prior. The exception is if the plaintiff can prove the licensed medical provider's care constituted as gross negligence. 
Senate Bill 1116 (pdf) increases the burden of proof for plaintiffs alleging malpractice. They must prove that the provider failed to provide "the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice or care" in the community at which the provider practices. If the provider was a specialist, plaintiffs must prove that the care provided by that specialist did not meet the recognized standards for that specialty that is upheld at other facilities.
Under SB 1116, patients must also prove they suffered an injury that "more probably than not" was proximately caused by the provider. Actions alleging medical malpractice cannot seek damages for "loss of an opportunity to survive" or "an opportunity to achieve a better result." 
The package of bills is slated to go in front of the state's Senate Insurance Committee today, according to a Lansing State Journal report.


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