SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A high-profile, expensive fight over medical malpractice will be on the November ballot in California, after more than 840,000 voter signatures were turned in to qualify it.
The initiative was triggered by the tragic death of a Danville father’s two young children.
In 2003, 10-year-old Troy Pack and his little sister Alana were struck and killed by a drunk driver, who was found to be high on Vicodin. The driver had acquired hundreds of pills from doctors. So the children’s father, Bob, tried to sue the doctors.
He ran up against the state’s $250,000 cap on malpractice awards, but now, he’s qualified a measure, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, for the November 2014 ballot, that would raise that to $1.1 million.
Pack said it would also require drug testing for doctors, and make them check a state database before dispensing addictive prescriptions.
“People’s rights are taken away, like in the case of my two children’s death,” Pack said. “It was very hurtful that I was never able to go to court because the doctors were never held accountable or reprimanded in any way.”
But California Medical Association spokesman Sam Singer said this initiative could cost Californians hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Malpractice insurance premiums will go up, the cost of healthcare to the average Californian will go up a thousand dollars a year,” he said.
Opponents have already raised more than $30 million to defeat Pack’s initiative.