Mothers to NC Legislators: No Medical Malpractice Immunity in the Emergency Room

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Tragic Stories Prompt Call from Moms, NC Advocates for Justice for Sens. Apodaca, Brown and Rucho to Abandon Bill

Senate Bill 33 -- sponsored by Senators Tom Apodaca, Harry Brown and Bob Rucho -- gives hospitals and ER doctors complete immunity when they commit malpractice like this, said Dick Taylor, CEO of the NC Advocates for Justice.

Two grieving mothers today shared their stories with legislators as a way of explaining why they oppose giving immunity to hospitals and ER doctors when they commit medical malpractice.

Heather Boone, who lives in Duplin County, took her seven month old son, Ethan – who was burning with fever – to the ER. After a brief examination she was told her son only had a virus and sent home.

In fact, according to the NC Advocates for Justice, young Ethan had a meningococcal infection. After he was not given antibiotics the infection advanced to sepsis and the child lost his arms and legs (see the attachment for letter and stunning before-after photos).

Renee Hazelton took her two year old son, Liam, to the ER in Mecklenburg County. After a short examination the doctor dismissed an injury to her child’s carotid artery was a minor abrasion. Renee’s son received no treatment and as a result suffered a stroke twelve hours later.

Senate Bill 33 -- sponsored by Senators Tom Apodaca, Harry Brown and Bob Rucho -- gives hospitals and ER doctors complete immunity when they commit malpractice like this, said Dick Taylor, CEO of the NC Advocates for Justice.

“Under this bill, hospitals can provide negligent care, which every other doctor in North Carolina agrees is malpractice, but still have complete immunity,” Taylor explained. “They take no responsibility at all for their actions. How is that fair?”

Every year, thousands of patients die or are severely injured in North Carolina hospitals because of preventable medical mistakes. The NC Advocates for Justice and everyday citizens like Heather and Renee oppose SB 33 in part because not only will it do nothing to encourage physicians to practice safer medicine, according to Taylor, it will actually put patients in danger.

SB 33 receives its first public hearing at a meeting of the Senate J-1 Committee, led by Sen. Pete Brunstetter, on Thursday, February 17 at 10:00 a.m. Advocates plan to speak there on behalf of concerned patients across North Carolina.

For more information, please contact todd(at)ncaj(dot)com, 1-800-688-1413.

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