New York Tort Reform As It Relates To The Rights Of Injured Children

In a callous political move, Governor Cuomo dealt a significant blow to the rights of brain damaged children to help offset the State's budget shortfall. Shortly after this election, the Governor appointed a Committee to review medical malpractice cases. The committee consisted of medical-hospital-insurance representatives. There was no one to speak for neurologically impaired infants. The Committee recommended and the Governor pushed the Legislature to pass, and he immediately signed, a bill establishing a "Neurologically Impaired Infant Medical Indemnity Fund".

As currently structured the Fund would deprive the infant victims of medical negligence of the awards they received from jury verdicts or settlements for their malpractice related health care expenses and provides them with the right to receive care from a government run fund. Thus, all future medical treatment and the expense for that treatment will be only that which the government will consider necessary and proper and at a rate set by the government.

This system will eliminate the monetary compensation necessary to provide optimal care for the infant and will substitute minimal care at the discretion of bureaucrat. In the future all awards for pain and suffering or losses other than health care will be paid as it has been in the past. All future medical expenses will be referred to the "Fund". The Fund Administrator can place restrictions on the level of care and the rate of reimbursement. It is a type of managed care and the level of care will not be dependent upon the wishes of the infant's treating physician. Since limits will also be placed on the rate of reimbursement, injured infants will, in all likelihood, be prevented from obtaining their care from providers of their own choice. Nurses, therapists, home attendants will be required to accept the Medicaid rates. The choice, therefore, become very narrow.

As the systems goes into effect we will be in a better position to evaluate the effects it will have in the future. At the present time it appears that those that caused the injury will be let off the hook and the rest of the state's taxpayers will be asked to pick up the cost of treating these innocent children. Funds such as these have never worked in the past and it is doubtful that it will work in the future.

If you or someone you love has been injured or harmed by medical negligence, contact an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable on medical malpractice claims can provide you with the information necessary to protect your rights, regardless of New York's indemnity fund.

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