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Barbour wins second major
endorsement of campaign

By Staff
ENDORSEMENT Haley Barbour, Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks Thursday with Dr. Pat Barrett, second from left, of Jackson, and Dr. Charles Wilkinson and Dr. Lon F. Alexander of Meridian after a press conference where Barbour announced he had received the political endorsement of the Mississippi State Medical Association. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 27, 2003
With the hot-button issue of medical malpractice reform apparently still looming, Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour has won the political endorsement of the Mississippi State Medical Association.
The endorsement, a first for the physicians' political action committee, was officially announced on Thursday at Barbour campaign press conferences in Meridian and elsewhere. Barbour was joined by Dr. Pat Barrett, an orthopedic surgeon who practices in Jackson who also serves as chairman of the political action committee. The statewide tour concludes today in Tupelo.
Barrett said Barbour's is the first campaign for governor ever endorsed by the organization and said physicians need Barbour's aggressive attitude as governor. Barrett's sentiments were similar to those expressed by the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, which endorsed Barbour last week in the first such endorsement in its 52-year history.
Barbour proposed creation of an independent review board to hear medical malpractice complaints before they go to court. He said that if the review board decided a case was without merit, and the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney went ahead with the case, they would be responsible for the defense costs if they lose.
Dr. Charles Wilkinson, a pathologist who has practiced in Meridian for nearly 29 years, was at the Meridian press conference in support of Barbour.
Barbour said frivolous lawsuits against Mississippi doctors have jeopardized patients' health care.
Dr. Lon F. Alexander, one of Meridian's two neurosurgeons and one of a decreasing number of brain surgeons left in Mississippi, also stood with Barbour in support of his candidacy at the press conference, which was held at Weidmann's Square.
Barbour, of Yazoo City, has lobbied for tobacco and pharmaceutical companies and is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Barbour faces Jackson attorney Mitch Tyner in the Aug. 5 Republican primary. The general election is Nov. 4.

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