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32 Renal & Urology News JULY 2009 www.renalandurologynews.com
BY MYRA DEMBROW weight-based dosages and write the
weight and patient’s age on each
Oklahoma Revamps order. This helps the dispensing pro-
Civil Court Rules fessional double-check the appropri-
ate drug and dose,” the report says.
Oklahoma has overhauled its
procedures for medical malprac- Judge: Malpractice Caps
tice lawsuits, reinstating pretrial Don’t Apply to Jury Trials
certificates of merit and set-
ting a limit on most pain-and- A Maryland trial judge has ruled
suffering damages. that the state’s cap on noneco-
Certificates of merit are affidavits nomic damages cannot be im-
from medical experts attesting to posed on jury awards.
the validity of a plaintiff’s charges As a result, the widow and
before a case goes to trial. The daughters of a man who died of
Oklahoma State Supreme Court melanoma will keep most of a
threw out a similar requirement $5.8 million verdict, including
three years ago because it applied almost $3 million in compensation
only to medical malpractice. Like for their bereavement and the
the rest of the reform law, the new patient’s pain and suffering. Circuit
requirement applies to any case of Judge John Debelius III denied a
professional negligence, not just defense motion to cut that part
accusations against physicians. The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory issued a report indicating that incor- of the award to $812,500 to con-
rect weight measurement in hospital settings is a factor in medication errors.
In addition, the law changes liabil- form to the damages cap.
ity rules in cases with multiple de- Maryland has limited noneco-
fendants. Under the previous law, continue to have no limit on damage Most incidents involved failures nomic damages since 1986. The law
a doctor could be held responsible awards of any kind. to obtain accurate patient weight was overhauled in 2005 in response
for the full amount of an award, measurements or a misuse of that to soaring medical malpractice pre-
regardless of his degree of fault. Not Weighing Patients Can value. For example: miums. It allows the c