Tuesday, June 4, 2002
Courthouse only place for justice against the powerful'
To the editor:
I have seen the best and the worst in medicine. As the son of a practicing physician and as the brother-in-law of a practicing physician I have witnessed first hand their hard work and compassion. However, in representing catastrophically injured babies, children, fathers and mothers, I have also witnessed unexcusable neglect and lack of care. Such conduct cannot and should not be condoned.
The people of Mississippi, our judiciary and our state Legislature have come under attack from the Chamber of Commerce and insurance companies and their surrogates in the name of "tort reform." These groups have falsely charged that plaintiff lawyers and innocent victims of negligence are driving up insurance premiums and forcing "good" physicians out of the state. This is simply untrue. Such lies are simply unacceptable.
Why should a physician whose negligence or gross negligence injures a baby, a child, a mother, or father be immune from a suit or have his or her negligent actions shielded from liability by the state? In the late legislative session, the Legislature recognized the unfairness of limiting an injured individual's right to recover and stopped tort reform after carefully weighing its pros and cons. The Legislature should be commended for it action. Now it is time for Gov. Musgrove to also recognize that the courthouse for many is the only place for justice against the powerful.
As an attorney who now represents injured babies, mothers and fathers, it is clear that tort reform is nothing but a means of lowering the level of accountability for the powerful, including but not limited to the medical profession and its lobbyists.
I believe it is time for the governor and the people of Mississippi to wake up and to understand what tort reform actually means. Tort reform will not lead to better medicine. Tort reform will not lower insurance premiums. Tort reform will not keep physicians in state. Instead, tort reform, will simply take away innocent individual's rights at the behest of insurance companies' profits.
This state should not allow this to happen. Gov. Musgrove should not allow this to happen. The insurance industry is attempting to create a "crisis" to enlist the aid of the government to shield it against its own ineptness, greed and profit. We should not allow the process to be abused in such a fashion.
Kenneth C. Miller