Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds medical malpractice caps in case of Wisconsin woman who lost four limbs


eMediNexus    29 June 2018

Wisconsins caps on medical malpractice awards are constitutional. With this a Milwaukee woman 50, who lost all four limbs to malpractice will receive only $750,000 for the pain and suffering.

In a 5-2 decision written by Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, the court declared the cap on noneconomic damages that was enacted in 1986 to be constitutional, overruling a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, a state appellate court and a 2005 Supreme Court decision.

As a result, Ascaris and Antonio Mayo will receive less than five percent of the $16.5 million in noneconomic damages — that is, pain and suffering and loss of companionship — that a Milwaukee County jury awarded them in 2014.

Mayo lost her limbs after medical personnel at Columbia St. Marys Hospital failed to diagnose an infection or offer her antibiotics to treat the condition. Her Strep A infection ultimately led to septic shock and sepsis and the amputations.

A Milwaukee County jury awarded the Mayos $25.3 million for her economic and noneconomic damages. Milwaukee County Judge Jeffrey Conen upheld the jurys verdict saying that in the Mayo case the $750,000 cap for noneconomic damages was unconstitutional. He did not, however, rule the cap itself as unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court rejected both lower court orders.

Variation in private medical college fees

  1. Supreme Court repeatedly ruling that education cannot be for profit.
  2. The average annual tuition fees for MBBS in private colleges varies from about Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, with deemed universities typically charging the most.
  3. Data for the 2017 fees in about 210 private colleges given to the Medical Council of India shows only 25 averaged Rs 5 lakh or less and about half averaged under Rs 8 lakh.
  4. In Pune, the average fees range from Rs 6 lakh to over 17 lakh, in Mumbai from Rs 7.7 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, and in Bangalore from Rs 4 lakh to 10 lakh.
  5. After the SC ruled that states can regulate medical college fees to curb commercialisation and promote merit, states constituted fee fixation committees. Colleges submit their expenses, on the basis of which the committees fix the fees.
  6. Many claim higher expenses for extra amenities but luxurious facilities cannot be the criteria to fix exorbitant fees. Fees ought to be based only on expenses for facilities mandated by MCI.
  7. In the eight deemed universities in Tamil Nadu, fees range from Rs 18.5 lakh to Rs 22.5 lakh.
  8. Under the law, only nonprofit societies or charitable trusts could run medical colleges till the government in November 2016 permitted private companies to run them.
  9. Many deemed universities and their affiliated colleges have escaped the jurisdiction of the fee fixation committees. In Rajasthan, all private medical colleges are affiliated to deemed universities and their average fees range from roughly Rs 15 lakh to Rs 18 lakh. (TOI)
  10. An 11-member national level fee regulation committee has been formed by University Grants Commission to finalize the fee for the MBBS course in deemed universities of Tamil Nadu. A bench of the Madras High Court has directed the committee to give a finalized fee structure by October 31.

In June, an interim order on the fee was passed by the bench, capping the fee at Rs 13 lakh. The High Court bench then said, “We are informed that the (UGC) fee committee has earlier fixed Rs 11.50 lakh as management quota for medical colleges run by the deemed universities and the students may now be admitted subject to the payment of Rs 13 lakh.”

However, last week the High Court order on the fee was stayed by a vacation bench of the Supreme Court, permitting Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute to collect Rs 22 lakh as the fee for this academic year. Until the UGC committee finalizes the fee, this will be the fee collected by the college.

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