The Georgia House passed a $350,000 limit on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice suits, a cap that Georgia physicians say is fair considering Georgia is named a crisis state for malpractice liability.
Dr. Mel Hartsfield says, "It's an issue of access to health care. The escalating premiums affect our ability to recruit physicians to be available to care for patients, particularly in emergency departments."
Danny Hayes says, "I think what we have here is a lot of hype."
Personal injury lawyer Danny Hayes doesn't buy into the notion that malpractice suits will drive out physicians. He says placing caps on awards generalizes people who have been injured and it interferes with the judicial process.
"I think it's basically telling the people that you as jurors can't make a good decision, so were going to make it for you," he says.
Mel says, "The system is broke. If we don't receive protection, then patients will face problems receiving care."
One thing's for sure: medical malpractice reform is a hot topic in Georgia and lawmakers are addressing it. Monday, the bill will go before the Senate for another debate, and only time will tell the bill's fate.