5 Jan 2008

American Samoa hospital seeks limits to malpractice awards

9:08 am on 5 January 2008

American Samoa's LBJ Hospital is urging the Legislature to introduce a bill that would cap damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Hospital attorney Terry Lovelace said most states and territories have laws to limit unfair judgment amounts.

The law would place a reasonable limit on what an injured plaintiff can receive as compensation for things like pain and suffering.

Mr Lovelace says this would prevent unreasonable judgments from causing serious economic damage to the hospital and the government.

More than 6 malpractice lawsuits filed against the local hospital in the last two years were all settled out of court.

Governor Togiola Tulafono has announced that he is working on legislation that would require the LBJ Hospital to pay any judgements against it.

At present the American Samoa Government has to foot the bill because existing law states that the hospital cannot be sued.