Senator Boucher Stands Up for Doctors

May 18, 2015

Hartford, CT – State Senator Boucher (R-Wilton) recently stood on the senate floor to support doctors who oppose senate bill 1028, AN ACT CONCERNING THE TOLLING OF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A NEGLIGENCE ACTION BROUGHT BY A MINOR. The law would extend the statute of limitations in which a minor can sue a doctor for alleged malpractice.

“I think in this case we have really given the stronger voice just to one industry, and are putting our medical community at great risk by passing this law,” said Sen. Boucher. “Costs could go up exorbitantly in the already costly and highly regulated healthcare sector in Connecticut. This bill could increases costs for all of us, not just for doctors, in increased insurance premiums.”

According to the language in this proposed bill, the statute of limitations for those who sue for personal injury suffered when they were minors – unable to sue in their own name – would go from two years of an incident to 7 years. Individuals who turn 18 would have to bring action in the one year between the time they turn 18 and when they turn 19. No more than eight years can go by from the date of the act or omission. This would allow a person to bring an action for something that occurred when he or she was as young as age 11.

“Taking our current laws and going from two years to seven, is an extraordinarily big jump, extraordinarily big. As was previously stated, anything can happen to a growing child in a period five years or more, anything,” remarked Sen. Boucher.

The bill applies to lawsuits to recover damages caused by:

  • negligence
  • reckless or wanton misconduct
  • malpractice of a physician
  • surgeon
  • dentist
  • podiatrist
  • chiropractor
  • hospital
  • sanatorium

It does not apply to actions for the recovery of real property or a penalty or forfeiture.

“One of the things I am hearing more and more, and it really is alarming is that Connecticut has become the worst state to practice medicine in,” added Senator Boucher. “In fact my own internist’s son, who just graduated with his MD was counseled to practice in another state. Sadly, that means he will not be able to take over his father’s business here in Connecticut.

“These new regulations further exacerbate the problems that doctors have in staying in this industry. So many of them have been forced to give up their own individual practice and get under the liability insurance, medical malpractice insurance, that a large institution, or hospital setting can provide.”

Boucher says that despite the fact that this law may conform to laws in many other states – she notes other states have many more protections for doctors such as caps on non-economic damages – Connecticut does not.

Secondarily, Boucher states, “we have something called the first order of judgment that many other states don’t have, and what we’ve done is really regulated the medical community and made it very, very expensive.”

The bill passed the senate 24 to 10 (2 people absent) and now moves the house calendar.

If passed and signed by the governor the law would go into effect October 1, 2015, and is applicable to all cases pending, and cases filed on or after said date.