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HB 2299 Would Harm Pennsylvania’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

Phil Blackman-Pennsylvania New Jersey Personal Injury LawyerPublished on behalf of Philip Blackman, an experienced personal injury lawyer who has devoted his entire career to helping individuals and families who have been injured due to medical malpractice, car accidents, fall accidents and more. FREE Consultations: 215.925.4451

Right now, House Bill 2299 is being considered in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. If passed, it would change the rights of people who receive substandard medical care in hospital emergency rooms or clinics in Pennsylvania.

One of the reasons cited for passage of this bill is that since passage of the EMTALA, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act 42, Pennsylvania area hospitals must provide treatment to ER patients, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. In other words, because federal mandates now require that hospitals treat those who have no insurance, hospitals want the right to treat them with substandard medical care.

This law would shield emergency rooms from malpractice suits absent “gross negligence,” which is a difficult standard to meet, far more difficult than the current standard of ordinary negligence. Shielding hospital emergency room personnel from liability is especially problematic because minorities already receive longer wait times and delays in the emergency room. A law like HB2299 would only make that worse.

The solution is not changing medical negligence laws in Pennsylvania to make it harder for those injured by negligence in a hospital ER from suing those responsible. Rather, the solution is making sure that patients can afford medical insurance.

Professionals, be they doctors, lawyers, judges should never be excused from ordinary negligence. It is a matter of principle. Regardless of whether a person can pay or not, the treatment, medical, legal or otherwise, should be the same.

Voice your opinion. Contact your local state representative. For a list of all Pennsylvania House of Representative members, please visit www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator.

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Published: June 26, 2012

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