Trump healthcare ruling is another blow for medical negligence law | A.Z. Yaseen

Republican-appointed federal judge further undermines Trump administration’s effort to undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine against HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases US District Judge Edward Nottingham on Monday issued a preliminary injunction against…

Trump healthcare ruling is another blow for medical negligence law | A.Z. Yaseen

Republican-appointed federal judge further undermines Trump administration’s effort to undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine against HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases

US District Judge Edward Nottingham on Monday issued a preliminary injunction against a 2011 medical liability reform known as the doctor-patient relationship principle. The federal rule limits attorneys’ fees for representing patients who are successful in vaccine lawsuits and requires doctors to testify that they follow accepted practice standards. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 allowed physicians to opt out of having to face such litigation in Medicare coverage decisions, as Oregon did under Medicaid, but the new rule allows the rule to take effect as long as it hasn’t been challenged in court.

GOP-appointed federal judge further undermines Trump administration’s effort to undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine against HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases

The case, James F. Bradberry vs The State of Missouri, is distinct from similar cases in California that challenged the federal law known as the “Johnson and Johnson Rule”, which allows plaintiffs to sue over vaccinations that took place in other states. Since we first reported on this issue a few months ago, Nebraska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas have adopted other measures that mirror this Arizona doctor-patient relationship principle.

A Democratic attorney from Portland, Oregon, Bradberry was a plaintiff in a personal injury case against an Oregon based pharmaceutical manufacturer known as Cylindra Pharmaceuticals in which Bradberry claimed that his female physician had failed to counsel him about the risks of the HPV vaccine. Bradberry withdrew his claim with the court in 2012 and requested $25,000 in lawyer’s fees as a result. The Missouri rule prohibits a plaintiff from collecting such attorney’s fees, unless the doctor is also a party to the lawsuit.

In his injunction, Nottingham did not address whether the rule was constitutional or whether physicians are bound by it, but he said doctors are putting patients at risk with inadequate supervision. He described this kind of conduct as having “substantial validity”. “The Missouri doctor-patient relationship principle requires plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions to prove the negligence of the physician with regard to the plaintiff’s conditions or injury,” he said. “This conduct cannot be excused as simply an example of the normal uncertainties of medicine.”

Republican-appointed federal judge further undermines Trump administration’s effort to undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine against HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases

Since 2001, CDC data has shown that HPV vaccination rates have soared from less than 25% among young adults to more than 81% in 2016. Over the same period, uptake of HPV vaccination has decreased from a high of 98% in states such as New Jersey and New York to 91% in 2015.

The Colorado attorney general is currently contemplating whether to pursue a lawsuit against the Johnson and Johnson Rule to compel the federal agency to revoke the rule. The recently created National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of the Vaccine Court of Claims, which compensates injured patients from vaccine-related incidents, may also apply to restoring individual rights to sue.

While anecdotal evidence from the states seems to support the idea that a physician’s inability to collect fees at the courthouse door may be harming patient care, the consequences might be limited to a shrinking pool of doctors willing to give vaccines to children with vaccine-preventable diseases.

With less than two months to go before the 2018 midterm elections, all eyes remain on a federal appeals court in Cincinnati that has received several applications to review the latest ruling. At issue there is whether Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas “materially misapplied” the statute in permitting health care providers to opt out of being forced to defend themselves against vaccine lawsuits. The court voted against certifying the case for review.

Public Citizen has argued that the court should consider whether the rule threatens the health of children by having more than just lawyers and attorneys at the courthouse door, as a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice argued last month.

Sally Yates, who was President Barack Obama’s acting attorney general before being fired, contended that “the attorney general is supposed to protect the public, and in the event there’s no balanced approach from the court or us, the ultimate public-health consequence is going to be that fewer of our vaccines are being administered”.

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