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Senate Judiciary Committee Debates Medical Malpractice Bills

Posted: Feb 4, 2013 10:15 PM by Danielle Carter
Updated: Feb 5, 2013 9:06 AM

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed two bills to limit medical malpractice procedures in Missouri Monday evening.

With around a dozen physicians in attendance and several more witnesses testifying in favor, the committee discussed Senate Bill 105, which would re-establish legislation putting a cap on malpractice payouts.

Last year, the Missouri Supreme Court got rid of caps to malpractice payouts, citing it was unconstitutional via the English common law.

Missouri follows the rule of English common law, as established in 1607. English common law does not allow a cap on medical malpractice. In order to pass back into law a $350,000 cap for malpractice cases, the Missouri legislature must eliminate this stipulation from the common law.

Sen. Dan Brown, R - Rolla, the bill's sponsor, thinks the cap should be placed in order to encourage more doctors to practice in Missouri. Multiple doctors spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would help bolster Missouri's legal reputation among doctors.

One doctor said his daughter is also going into the medical field, and will not be applying for residency in the state of Missouri. Another said not passing the cap back into existence will drive out seasoned doctors in the state.

Senate Bill 64, the second bill, would make proving a medical malpractice case more difficult. It would raise the burden of proof from "preponderance of evidence" to "clear and convincing" evidence.

With preponderance of evidence, someone must only prove their story was likely true. With clear and convincing evidence, however, the standard is much higher.

Each bill was met with little opposition.

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