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Another example why Mississippi needs tort reform

By Staff
July 7, 2002
Three medical clinics in the southwest Mississippi town of Woodville got some good news the other day. Closed for a week due to the lack of affordable medical malpractice insurance, they will reopen Monday. The clinics' doctors will be covered as employees of Field Memorial Community Hospital in Centreville and altogether some 50 employees will return to work.
As a public institution with sovereign immunity, the hospital enjoys a $500,000 cap on jury awards in malpractice lawsuits. That cap, said Dr. Robert l. Lewis of Catchings Clinic, is "the single reason this solution is possible." They were able to cover all eight area doctors and four nurse practitioners for 32 percent less than Catchings Clinic alone would have paid for its six professionals.
The case of the Woodville clinics is another example of the real-life implications of Mississippi's unbalanced civil justice system. When clinics must close because the price of liability insurance is too high, or when doctors move to another state with a more reasonable legal climate, we all suffer.
But the debate in Mississippi over tort reform isn't just about doctors and lawyers and insurance companies. It is about quality of life, fair play and, above all, justice. We renew our call today for the Legislature to take corrective measures to restore confidence in our state's civil justice system.

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