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Abortion and Lawsuit Reform – An Interesting Conundrum in Oklahoma

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As we detailed on injuryboard.com yesterday, Oklahoma State Senator Anthony Sykes has gone out of his way to immunize wrongdoers from any civil liability this legislative session. In cloak and dagger fashion, Senator Sykes attempted to rush through several draconian so called lawsuit reform bills yesterday without debate, without allowing his constituent to speak and in total disregard to what is in the best interests of Oklahoma citizens.

When discussing these bills, it is easy for an experienced trial lawyer to cite past examples of how these laws would allow a wrongdoer to further harm an individual. However, news today has provided a horrific example that all true constitutional conservatives should take heed of before voting for these unfair and liberal type bills.

The thedenverchannel.com is reporting a tragic example of a pharmacy’s negligence that may result in the loss of an unborn child. According to the story, a young Colorado woman may lose her unborn child because a pharmacist negligently gave her an abortion pill instead of antibiotics that her doctor had prescribed. The article states that the young lady was

six weeks pregnant and when she went to the pharmacy to pick up an antibiotic her doctor had prescribed, the pharmacist gave her an abortion drug by mistake….

The article goes on to detail the pharmacy’s statement

In a statement to 7NEWS, Safeway said, "Safeway’s first concern is the health of our patients. When the pharmacist became aware of what happened, he worked with the patient and with her physicians to minimize any possible health consequences to the patient and her unborn child. We have extended our sincere apologies to the customer, and offered to pay any medical expenses incurred as a result of a prescription error. We are also very concerned about how this happened and we are conducting a full and complete investigation. Safeway has pharmacy systems and processes in place to prevent this kind of occurrence. We have a well-earned reputation for reliably and safely filling prescriptions, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure our procedures and policies are being followed at each of our pharmacies."

Regardless of the Safeway’s statement, this lady and her unborn child are suffering. The young mother states

For all this to happen now is really overwhelming…This is my first child, so it’s really difficult to deal with… I’m going to have to deal with this for a long time…My baby could have deformities. There’s a lot that goes with it.

In Oklahoma most Republicans claim to be constitutional conservatives and claim to be against any type of abortion. This legislative session we will see bills defining an embryo as

a living organism of the species Homo sapiens at the earliest stages of development from the single-celled stage through eight (8) weeks after fertilization that is not located in the body of a female.

I believe it’s a just cause to fight for the rights of the unborn, yet it seems Senator Sykes and several members of the Oklahoma Republican Party establishment believe fetus, children, the elderly and women should be afforded second class status under their proposed tort laws.

For example, if this unborn child would sadly perish and/or be born with deformities, the most Senator Sykes wants this child and mother to recover for noneconomic damages is $250,000.00. As a father of three girls this is simply appalling. If this child were to perish, I wonder if Senator Sykes could look at himself in the mirror and be proud that he valued this dead child at $250,000.00.

However, that’s not the worst of Senator Sykes actions. Assuming this young mother is carrying health insurance on the child, any medical bills (actual damages of the child) paid by her health insurance would be a credit to the negligent pharmacy.

In a lawsuit, people can recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages usually include medical costs and losses of income from ones job. In this unborn child’s case, he or she obviously does not have a job therefore the only recoverable damages would be medical costs and noneconomic pain and suffering damages. So to benefit his insurance benefactors, Senator Sykes says it’s not enough to limit noneconomic damages; he wants to allow the wrongdoer to get the benefit or credit for any monies paid by the young ladies health insurance.

Remember, the young lady, not the wrongdoer, paid premiums on this health insurance (we all know it’s not cheap). Let’s assume for arguendo the medical bills for the unborn child who perished were $30,000.00. Health insurance paid the medical bills leaving a zero balance at the hospital. If the jury returned a verdict for $1,000,000.00 of which $30,000.00 was for economic losses, the judgment would be reduced immediately to $970,000.00. Then the court would be forced to further reduce the jury’s will to the noneconomic limit of $250,000.00. From that the mother would have to pay her attorneys and would still have to pay via subrogation the $30,000.00 back to the health insurance.

Now I ask our readers. Where is the fairness? Where is the conservatism? We trust a jury to find whether a person should be condemned for murder yet we do not trust them to determine an appropriate amount that a person has been damages.

Shame on Senator Sykes for proposing these bills and we highly recommend you call your Oklahoma State Senator and Representative and tell them to not vote for these horrid anti-conservative and anti-Oklahoman bills.