Dear Editor: As the mother of a son who was killed by medical negligence, I am appalled by Dr. A-Malek’s comments. She couldn’t be more wrong. (“No on 46,” Letters to the Editor, 10/23/14)

MICRA, the $250,000 cap on medical malpractice cases, has only served one purpose...to enrich the insurance industry. Meanwhile, victims of medical negligence are denied access to justice.

In 1975, the insurance industry agreed that $250,000 was a fair amount, however today, 39 years later, they still think that same amount is fair. Hmmm, who is greedy, Dr. A-Malek? It’s not the lawyers who risk $100,000 in costs to fight a malpractice case, with a maximum award of $250,000. Greedy are the multi-billion dollar insurance companies, who are quite content with the status quo. BIG profits over justice for victims.

Did you know that the lives of our children, the elderly, stay-at-home parents, the poor, the unemployed, and the disabled are all devalued by MICRA? That’s discrimination! It was Prop 103, not MICRA, that stabilized malpractice premiums. Did you know that attorneys fees are strictly capped in malpractice cases (15% on awards over $600,000), unlike any other personal injury case?

As for CURES, the prescription drug data-base, it’s already in use. Prop 46 will only require its use when prescribing highly-addictive medications such as vicodin and oxycontin for the first time to a patient. This will cut down on doctor shopping and over-prescribing and will save taxpayers millions of dollars. CURES is fully HIPPA approved, fully funded by SB809, and it’s run by the Attorney General and the state Department of Justice. In fact, the California Medical Association, in May 2013, encouraged their physicians to use CURES.

And as for the drug and alcohol testing of doctors, Dr. A-Malek said “all physicians.” Wrong again. It’s random testing of doctors on staff at hospital, or with admitting privileges, and anytime there’s an adverse event. An adverse event such as my son being given a lethal combination of medications, and then being left unmonitored in his hospital bed for over seven hours only to be found in rigor mortis, just feet from the nurses station.

So please, Dr. A-Malek, get your facts straight when talking about Prop 46, and quit misleading the voters of Downey.

Tammy Smick Downey



Published: Oct. 30, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 29