Victory for injured victims: U.S. Senate votes no
to obstetrics med-mal bill

(2/26/2004) -- The Association of Trial Lawyers of America reports that the U.S. Senate on Feb. 24 voted no to a motion to proceed to the consideration of S.2061, a bill that would have restricted the rights of injured mothers and their babies, and handed sweeping liability protections to physicians and others for injuries arising from OB/GYN services.

According to ATLA, the bill’s proponents were able to muster only 48 votes, falling short of even a bare Senate majority (needing 60 votes to invoke cloture and end a filibuster against proceeding to the bill).

S.2061 would have preempted state law and imposed sweeping restrictions - including a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages - in cases involving harm arising from the provision of OB/GYN services, according to ATLA. The limits in the bill would have applied not only in medical malpractice cases against physicians, hospitals and HMOs, but also in product liability cases against the makers and sellers of drugs and medical devices used in providing OB/GYN-related services.