A Mississippi plastic surgeon has declined to treat the daughter of a state lawmaker who had opposed limits on damage lawsuits brought in that state.
Meanwhile, a South Carolina physician has asked the American Medical Association to approve as ethical a policy that would permit doctors to refuse treating medical malpractice lawyers.
Kimberly Banks, 26, said she sought treatment from Michael Kanosky, M.D., for third-degree burns she suffered in January while cooking. She wanted to have the scars removed and went to Kanosky's office on Wednesday.
"He asked me who I worked for and then asked me who my father was," Banks told the Associated Press. "I told him Earle Banks. He told me, 'I can't see you because your father is against tort reform."'
The elder Banks, a funeral director, has been a member of the Mississippi House since 1993. He had opposed lawsuits-limitations legislation that passed in the most recent special session.
"I couldn't believe when Kimberly told me," Banks said. "I'd never heard of anything like that happening."
Kanosky was out of the office Thursday. However, Kanoksy earlier told Jackson, Miss., television station WLBT that he and his wife both lobbied for civil justice reforms.
"We just felt that there was a conflict of interest, and my wife was a lobbyist for the doctors," Kanosky told WLBT. "I explained the concerns about conflict of interest. She (Banks) seemed OK with that. I have to be ethical and present those conflicts to the patients, which I certainly did."
Kanosky, whose office is in Flowood, near Jackson, said he referred Banks to some other cosmetic surgeons in the Jackson area.
Officials with the Mississippi State Medical Licensure Board say Kanosky was not out of line because he did refer Banks to other physicians.
Banks, who said she will file a complaint with the state board, told the television station that she was upset and had left Kanosky's office without taking the list of referrals.
Across the country, doctors have taken different approaches in fighting back against malpractice lawyers and others opposed to changes in the civil justice system.
J. Chris Hawk III, M.D., a Charleston, S.C., surgeon and delegate to the American Medical Association House of Delegates meeting next week in Chicago is asking for that body to approve a resolution calling on tort reform, including getting medical-liability cases moved to an alternate dispute resolution system.
Hawk also called for the AMA to notify physicians that, "except in emergencies and except as otherwise required by law or other professional regulation, it is not unethical to refuse care to plaintiffs' attorneys and their spouses."
In a whereas clause included in the resolution, Hawk said, "If trial attorneys were given the opportunity to experience the access problems caused by the professional liability crisis, then perhaps they would be willing to help change the system."
Medical societies in several states are starting committees to help doctors seek more aggressive ways to deter what they consider frivolous lawsuits.
The Mississippi State Medical Association began tracking frivolous lawsuits after a spike in litigation in the last year, said general counsel Linda McMullen.
She said the group has filed complaints with the state bar association on behalf of five doctors.
Joseph Conn contributed to this story.