Californians Will Vote On Fairness Act to Update 1975 Law Limiting Patient Rights at the Ballot Next Year
Los Angeles, CA – The must-see documentary “Never Events,” that follows the journey of multiple families who fought for change after suffering lifelong harm or loss due to medical negligence, debuts this week on Amazon, Apple TV and other streaming services. The documentary exposes the trauma caused by medical negligence, the third leading cause of death in America, and California’s cap on compensation for patients who are harmed that prevents them from getting justice or accountability for their loss.
Watch the trailer below or at www.nevereventsdoc.com
Advocates for the Fairness for Injured Patients Act, a movement to update California’s 1975 cap on compensation for medical negligence victims, are prominently represented in the film. They share how the cap not only limited their access to the courtroom but is a huge barrier to their recovery from lifelong harm. Californians will vote on the Fairness Act to update the cap on the November 2022 ballot.
Learn more at www.fairnessact.com
Consumer Watchdog’s Kathy Olsen Patient Safety Advocate Michele Monserratt-Ramos is featured in the documentary. She works with families across the state of California to educate their community about the medical negligence cap and how they can protect themselves from medical negligence.
“After my fiancé Lloyd Monserratt’s death, I quickly learned of the cruel medical malpractice cap that would ultimately rob our family of justice and would allow Lloyd’s doctor to continue to practice with no accountability and no restrictions,” said Michele Monserratt-Ramos. “It was difficult enough to endure tragically losing Lloyd but to come to terms that there would be no justice for Lloyd was more than I could bear. Each day that I woke up I couldn’t help but think who was going to die today? Who was going to be harmed that day?”
“Never Events” drives home that medical negligence is at an epidemic level and the medical negligence cap is a barrier that victimizes families twice – from lifelong harm or death due to medical negligence and by preventing them from seeking accountability and justice for that death.
“Never events” are medical errors – such as removing the wrong body part or giving the wrong medication – that should never occur. The documentary, presented by Havasar Films and Naked Kite Productions, was directed and produced by Angela Asatrian and won the Impact DOCS Awards! Award of Excellence.
The Fairness Act will adjust California’s maximum $250,000 cap on quality of life and survivor damages for inflation, allow judges and jurors to decide that compensation above the cap is appropriate in certain cases of catastrophic injury or death, and require that juries be informed about the existence of the cap.
The medical negligence cap, referred to as MICRA, was enacted in 1975 and has never been adjusted for inflation in 46 years.
Patients have gone to the ballot with the Fairness Act because reform of the cap has been blocked in the legislature by lobbyists for malpractice insurance companies and doctors. That dynamic played out again this year, when lobbyists gutted legislation to increase public representation on the Medical Board of California, the agency charged by the state with disciplining doctors who cause harm. The medical negligence cap and reform of the Medical Board are directly linked, because the Board fails to hold doctors accountable just as patients are denied accountability in the courts by the cap.
Multiple Fairness Act patient advocates and women leaders in the movement to update the medical negligence cap were featured in the film. Former Executive Director of National Nurses United and Consumer Watchdog Board member RoseAnn DeMoro said, “MICRA caps how much an individual injured person can recover to $250,000 for their pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of life functions, anything other than medical bills and wage losses.
"Since 1975, when it was enacted, this cap has never been indexed for inflation. Women are particularly hard hit and discriminated against by that cap because they earn less [and] are more likely to stay at home with kids. …This is the most f****d-up law that exists in California."
An adjustment to the medical negligence cap would have helped Never Events star Annette Ramirez, a board member of Consumer Watchdog Campaign. During a routine hysterectomy, Annette’s bowel was nicked resulting in infection and sepsis. She spent two years in the hospital and lost her limbs. The cap limited compensation for her lifetime of pain and suffering, her ability to walk, move freely and be with her family as she once was, to $250,000.
Consumer Watchdog Board member Tammy Smick’s son died by overdose from a toxic cocktail of medications administered at the hospital where he sought relief. “Alex was a college student, so he didn’t have an income. He didn’t have dependents. So our entire case between the hospital and the doctor was capped at $250,000. And the cost of going to trial can be as much as $100,000 so it doesn’t make sense to even go to trial,” Tammy shared. “Alex was denied justice, our family was denied justice for Alex, because of that MICRA cap.”
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