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Medical Malpractice Survivors Decry Possible Stripping of Rights in President's Health Care Plan

NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sixty-four survivors of medical malpractice from 21 states sent a letter to President Obama today expressing extreme concern that the rights of medical malpractice victims have become a "political bargaining chip" in the President's efforts to sell his health care plan, and that their rights may be stripped away as a result. Reports now indicate that the President supports measures that would drastically limit injured patients' rights to trial by jury by allowing biased medical societies or politicians to make liability decisions. The group of malpractice survivors has requested a meeting with President Obama to express dissatisfaction with the President's willingness to include far-reaching medical malpractice limits in his national health care proposal.

The survivors are working with the national consumer group Center for Justice & Democracy in trying to get their voices heard. CJ&D Executive Director Joanne Doroshow said, "Taxpayers have already been asked for billions of dollars to rescue Wall Street banks. Now they may be asked to give up their constitutional rights. What's next?"

Donna Harnett, a Chicago resident whose son, Martin, was severely brain-damaged at birth due to delivery errors, said, "Any proposal that would limit the right to trial by jury would be devastating to families like mine who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Moreover, it will do nothing to expand health coverage or reduce health care costs."

"I am very disappointed that the President is considering measures that would put patient's rights in jeopardy. I certainly hope that he accepts our request to meet with families like ours, who have had lives ruined and lost loved ones to medical negligence", said Michael Bennett of Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Bennett's father, Mark Bennett, died after being exposed to six types of bacteria while in the care of a Baltimore-area hospital-related injury.

"As survivors of medical negligence, we believe that our voices should be heard in any discussion that could result in curbing the legal rights of seriously injured patients," said Dylan Malone of Seattle, Washington, whose son, Ian, died several years after being severely brain damaged due to a delivery-related errors.

The full text of the letter can be found at

SOURCE Center for Justice & Democracy
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