Darrie Eason is an excellent example of what’s wrong with proposals to cap damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases. The high cost of malpractice insurance is a problem. But adding insult to patients’ injuries by arbitrarily limiting jury awards is not the answer.
Eason was told she had cancer and decided to undergo a double mastectomy but was subsequently told by her doctors that the devastating diagnosis was a mistake. Her tissue sample had been mislabeled. She never had cancer! Tragically, by then her breasts had been removed. If it’s proved that her travail was caused by somebody’s negligence, she can collect economic damages – lost wages and the cost of hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy and the like. But that just covers her expenses. So, what else is there? Whatever a judge or jury considers just compensation for her pain and suffering. Under current law, without caps, she could be awarded millions of dollars. Impose the cap sought by President George W. Bush and she could get no more than $250,000.