A former tort reform advocate recently discovered the degree of harm tort reform measures can cause on wronged patients. The advocate, a medical oncologist and an original force behind his state’s tort reform movement, admitted that tort reform has had the unintended consequence of juries denying admittedly wronged patients any recovery. He referred to a case where a pathologist misdiagnosed a woman leading to years of physical, mental, and economic harm to the patient. Following a jury trial, a verdict was returned for the woman, but the jury refused to grant her any damages. The jury’s decision was influenced by a misguided fear created by advocates of tort reform that the physician would leave the state before compensating the injured woman. This case illustrates how tort reform measures have resulted in many patients being forced to pay for physician negligence out of their own pockets, a result not even the most ardent advocates of tort reform would support.
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