N.C. Senate Candidate Signs Pledge Backing Medical Liability Reform

March 29, 2004

The North Carolina Chapter of Doctors for Medical Liability Reform announced that Congressman Richard Burr, currently running for U.S. Senate, has signed their pledge supporting federal legislation that would limit non-economic medical liability awards to $250,000.00 and help keep high-quality healthcare accessible and affordable for all North Carolinians.

Dr. Gail Rosseau, the national spokesperson for DMLR and a practicing neurosurgeon and director of Cranial Base Surgery at the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch, said, “We are very pleased to have Congressman Burr officially and publicly support this cause. We hope that the other senate candidates in North Carolina – specifically, Erskine Bowles – will join Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Burr in correcting this healthcare
crisis that prevents many patients in North Carolina access to affordable medical care.”

DMLR was created to urge U.S. senators to support federal medical
liability reform legislation. Although such legislation has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives (with Burr’s support) and is supported by President Bush, a handful of senators have blocked consideration of the measure in the Senate last summer and again in February of this year.

Included in the pledge that Congressman Burr signed are the statements: “I recognize that the citizens of North Carolina and across the country are facing an unprecedented healthcare crisis. Skyrocketing medical liability insurance premiums caused by escalating and unlimited jury awards are forcing doctors to limit services, retire early, abandon patients or move to a friendlier state, creating a vacuum of care where patients no longer have
access to critical medical services.”

The pledge also specifically points out that, “this cap will not limit economic compensation awarded for lost income, inability to work, long-term care or medical expenses.”

Craig Van Der Veer, a Charlotte neurosurgeon at Carolinas Medical Center, said, “Everyone in healthcare is concerned about how to efficiently deliver high-quality healthcare to every citizen of North Carolina. Congressman Burr obviously shares our concerns and has decided to help us do something about it. I’d be very interested to hear where Erskine Bowles stands on the issue but he has so far not responded to our requests to sign the pledge or explain his position.”

Doctors for Medical Liability Reform is a coalition of 230,000 physicians across America including specialty physicians from 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 and the American Urological Association.

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