Politicians in Maryland are advocating for the creation of a no-fault birth injury fund that would provide lifetime care for children who sustain a neurological injury at birth. The fund would essentially provide a safety net for hospitals and physicians, allowing both the victim’s family and the wealthy healthcare systems to avoid potentially costly litigation.
The bill is modeled after similar funds created in Florida and Virginia. Advocates for the controversial HB 377 bill say it would help avoid medical malpractice suits that may be killing healthcare systems. However, those opposed are angry that the state would take away a person or family’s right to a trial by jury.
Who Would Pay for the Fund?
The fund itself would be extremely expensive to get up and running, as you would expect. Hospitals and healthcare companies would be required to start putting $3.1 million into the fund starting in 2018, and increase to $7.8 million by 2021.
Opposition argues that hospitals will never actually pay into the fund, however, and that the financial burden will eventually fall to state government. That means that the fund will be paid for with taxpayers’ money, which will lead to raises in taxes.
In addition, if tax money is used to fund the project, then the people of Maryland will essentially be paying extra taxes in order to forfeit their right to a trial. If your child is seriously injured during birth, leading to lifelong injury like cerebral palsy, wouldn’t you want the right to pursue damages from those responsible?
The Dangers of Approving a “No-Fault” Birth Injury Fund
As mentioned before, a fund like this would act as a safety net for doctors and hospitals. Disallowing medical malpractice lawsuits by approving the HB 377 bill would eliminate the most effective tool for holding negligent medical staff accountable for their actions.