The state of Wisconsin is embroiled in a debate over whether parents should be allowed to file malpractice suits when their adult children die due to negligence at the hands of medical professionals. As of now, the state does not allow these types of personal injury lawsuits, but critics are attempting to have the law changed. Many parents who attempt to file such a suit are surprised to learn that they are not able to do so.
Advocates of the law believe the current system allows the state to keep the costs of practicing medicine low. An executive with the Wisconsin Medical Society states that Wisconsin appears to have found the delicate balance required between the medical liability law and physician exposure, but one that also allows for people to receive compensation if they have been harmed by medical negligence. Critics of the law have been attempting to lobby the state Legislature to pass the Family Justice Bill.
Such legislation would open lawsuits to both parents who've lost adult children and adult children who may have lost their parents due to medical malpractice by healthcare staff. Unfortunately, their efforts to pass the bill have been unsuccessful. The bill has been bypassed five times over the last 10 years. In 2010, it was passed in the Senate but failed to pass the Assembly.
If the Wisconsin law changes, it could pave the way for grieving parents to file medical malpractice lawsuits against negligent doctors or health care facilities. The way it stands now, they are prevented from doing so and can sometimes be surprised by the restrictive law when acts of malpractice occur. Such a change could help hold doctors and other healthcare practitioners accountable for negligent actions.
Source: Superior Telegram, "Views differ on whether state malpractice law is adequate," Tom Giffey, Aug. 20, 2012