There were many years when the tobacco industry paid doctors to say the cigarette smoking didn’t cause cancer. If anyone made that argument today they would be ridiculed. The same shift of public opinion is beginning to happen on the need for tort reform. Doctors have advocated the need for medical malpractice reforms in the state legislatures. The truth is slowly coming out that there really is no medical malpractice crisis and, if anything, it is the doctor’s own insurance companies who are ripping them off. This, coupled with the fact that there really are bad doctors who cause most of the problems who escape Medical Society discipline. The co-sponsor of the Tennessee medical malpractice reform bill now states he is glad his bill didn’t pass.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Briley said supporters of the medical malpractice bill exaggerated the need for limits on malpractice lawsuits. “It was premature. It didn’t need to pass,” Briley said during a House floor session. “We didn’t need tort reform in this state.” The matter is now dead unless it comes up again next year. State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co., the state’s largest provider of malpractice insurance to doctors, reported that insurance rates were dropping an average 4.2 percent this year. Doctors need to accept personal responsibility for the harm they cause.