This health video looks into hospital safety and how to improve it, part 3/3.
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Jennifer Matthews: The message from these doctors is clear, Save our docs. Here patients rally with a different aim. Female Speaker: Fifteen Floridians today will die. Jennifer Matthews: The bottom line for both is patient safety. Doctors say they can't afford the skyrocketing malpractice insurance. In states like Florida, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, some are closing their doors. Dr. Robert Cline: Doctors are having to decide whether they want to continue practicing in Florida, whether they want to continuing practicing period, or go into some other field. Jennifer Matthews: Nationwide, as many as 15% of OB-Gyns won't deliver babies, and some states have almost no neurosurgeons. Patients are affected. Dr. Richard Corlin: Their health is put at risk because services they need are not available close by where they are. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Corlin says the issue is under control in California. The reason? Tort reform - non-economic damages. The so called pain and suffering is limited to $250,000. Dr. Corlin says patients benefit. Dr. Richard Corlin: Doctors don't pay malpractice insurance rates. Hospitals don't pay malpractice insurance rates. Patients pay malpractice insurance rates. Jennifer Matthews: Some predict a national reform could save close to $50 billion. Jamie Court says the problem is not in the courts. Jamie Court: We don't suddenly have a run of people filing lawsuits. What we have is losses on Wall Street. And when insurance companies lose money on Wall Street, they raise premiums, sometimes absurdly. Jennifer Matthews: He says there's a way to reach the same goal without punishing patients. A law in California controls insurance rates for malpractice, as well as auto, homeowner, and business. Court says tort reform actually puts patients in danger. Jamie Court: What it does is to take away accountability for dangerous doctors, for incompetent doctors. Jennifer Matthews: For Jacqueline Imbertson, the argument became personal after an intensive care nurse gave her husband the wrong medication. Jacqueline Imbertson: He has lost some vision. He has had permanent nerve damage. He has dropped foot not. He lives in excruciating pain 24 hours a day. Jennifer Matthews: As far as Jacqueline knows, no actions were taken. Jacqueline Imbertson: Not only was that same person still there in the ICU unit, but had the audacity to come up and pass me by and say, 'Well, I'm still here.' Jennifer Matthews: Jacqueline founded Floridians for Patient Protection to lobby for changes. Starting with a law that after three strikes, bad doctors would have their licenses revoked. She also wants public disclosure of mistakes. Jacqueline Imbertson: We have consumer reports for cars, for washing machines. We don't have consumer reports for medical care. Jennifer Matthews: As Jacqueline watches her husband fight for his life, her goal is to make sure all patients are in safe hands. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.