MALPRACTICE SUITS: Medical Group Held Liable for Independent Docs
In a "verdict that held a medical care provider responsible for the actions of its member doctors," a Superior Court jury last week ordered Women's Medical Group of Santa Ana to pay the family of Max Akins $16 million. Filed in 1997, the negligence lawsuit charged that Akins suffered serious brain damage because doctors failed to perform an emergency caesarian section on his mother even after they knew he was not getting sufficient oxygen. The AP/Contra Costa Times reports that two unnamed doctors, who admitted no wrongdoing, settled for an undisclosed sum a few months ago, but "WMG refused to settle, claiming it wasn't liable because the doctors were independent contractors." Dr. Steve Heimberg, attorney for Akins, said, "There are loopholes in the law that have let health care providers find a way to contract ... to avoid liability. This hopefully will give a message to the businesses that when you try to ... attract patients based on the assertive strength of numbers of your doctors, you're going to have to own up to that." The AP/Times reports that WMG and its attorney could not be reached for comment (3/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.