Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Medical Malpractice Reform Is One Step Closer in California

California is one step closer to bringing about significant medical malpractice reform. Late last month, Consumer Watchdog and Bob Pack, the California father of two children killed by a drugged driver, introduced a proposed law that would amend the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act.

The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, which will require 504,760 valid signatures of voters to qualify for the next general election ballot in 2014, includes the following changes to California law:

  • Mandatory random drug and alcohol testing for physicians and mandatory physician drug and alcohol testing after reports of adverse events;
  • Mandatory use by physicians of the electronic CURES database, a searchable system that tracks prescriptions dispensed in California;
  • Adjusting for inflation the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice action, which has not changed since 1975; and
  • Requiring doctors who witness substance abuse by physicians or medical negligence to report it, and protecting those physicians from lawsuits by other doctors when they do.

“For 37 years, injured patients in California have been denied access to justice and strong patient safety protections,” said Pack. “This ballot measure begins to even the balance of power for innocent patients who are victimized by medical negligence and protects against dangerous and drug-abusing doctors. It’s a simple and reasonable step forward that the legislature should have taken decades ago.”

Pack and his family were walking on a sidewalk in Danville when a drugged driver fell unconscious at the wheel and swerved off the road, killing his two children and injuring Pack’s wife. The Packs also lost their unborn twins. The investigation revealed that the driver had been negligently overprescribed powerful painkillers. However, due to the damages cap, the Packs were only entitled to recover the $250,000 limit for each of their children’s lives.