Coalition of Doctors Call on Kerry, Edwards to Support Med-Mal Reform

July 7, 2004

A coalition of more than 230,000 specialty physicians announced its dismay with John Kerry and John Edwards, two sitting U.S. Senators, who they say repeatedly vote against protecting patients, instead choosing to pander to the powerful lobby of personal injury lawyers.

“Their continuous efforts against medical liability reform is a disaster
for Americans who want access to critical health care,” said Dr. Stewart Dunsker, a neurosurgeon and chairman of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform (DMLR). “Kerry and Edwards are two personal injury lawyers who have consistently voted to help personal injury lawyers instead of helping those patients who need this reform to ensure their continued access to care.”

Three times within the last several months, the U.S. Senate has voted
against even debating medical liability reform legislation. Reform measures have passed the U.S. House, and President George W. Bush has indicated his support for the legislation.

“Every time this issue of ensuring access to health care has come up in the Senate, John Kerry and John Edwards have led their fellow Democratic Senators in blocking it. They won’t even let it reach the floor for honest debate. That is not leadership,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, an emergency physician and a national spokesperson for DMLR.

As a result of the measure being blocked by a handful of votes in the
Senate, 11 national medical organizations united to form Doctors for Medical Liability Reform. This national coalition of more than 230,000 physicians is reportedly launching aggressive campaigns in the key states of Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia this week.

The group is airing 30 minute television programming in these states where physicians are reportedly being driven out of practice or out of state by skyrocketing liability costs created by personal injury lawyers seeking huge, jackpot jury awards.

DMLR is organizing a grassroots network of physicians and patients in targeted states around the country and plans on airing the television
programming, which may be supplemented by additional campaign expenditures, for as long as it takes to convince U.S. Senators to allow a medical liability reform bill to be debated on the Senate floor.

“At the end of the day, doctors and our patients have only one question to answer,” Gardner said. “Do we want personal injury lawyers deciding health care issues for our families? No.”

Doctors For Medical Liability Reform (DMLR) is a coalition comprised of the following national medical specialty groups: Neurosurgeons to Preserve Health Care Access, The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, The American College of Emergency Physicians, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, The American College of Surgeons Professional Association, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The American College of
Cardiology, The American Academy of Dermatology Association, The National Association of Spine Specialists, The American Urological Association and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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