November 27, Wisconsin Health News
The state’s Supreme Court agreed last week to review a lower court’s decision striking down a cap on how much patients can receive for some malpractice claims.
An appeals court ruled in July that a state law capping awards for noneconomic damages at $750,000 was unconstitutional. Noneconomic damages seek to compensate patients for pain and suffering. The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society have raised concerns about the court’s decision and its potential ramifications for providers and accessibility to healthcare. In her opinion striking down the decision, Judge Joan Kessler said the law placed an “unfair and illogical burden only on catastrophically injured patients, thus denying them the equal protection of the laws.”
The case involves Ascaris Mayo, who lost her limbs after providers at a Milwaukee-area emergency room failed to notify her she had an infection. A jury awarded Mayo and her husband $16.5 million for noneconomic damages, which the state sought to reduce.