The case of Jesica Santillan, who died Saturday after two heart-and-lung transplants, the first of which was done with donor organs of an incompatible blood type, shows why Congress should not pass a cap on noneconomic damages in malpractice cases, says a lawyer for the Santillan family.
Because she had no job and little prospect of a large future income, Santillan's family would not get high economic damages, and the proposed cap of $250,000 for noneconomic damages would greatly limit the payout, attorney Kurt Dixon of Greenville, N.C., said in meetings with Congress on Thursday, his office reports.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health began hearings on the bill on Monday. President Bush supports the cap, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., (R-Tenn.), has made it a top priority for the session, but passage of the cap has a history of being problematic.
While the House passed six bills to reduce malpractice insurance premium rates since 1995, all the bills died in the Senate
According to press reports, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has said that there should be exceptions to the $250,000 cap.