The prognosis was poor for reforming Maryland's medical malpractice laws this year, and this week the House Judiciary Committee removed any form of life support from two of three bills sponsored by Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, to improve the state's malpractice condition.
One of the bills would have imposed criteria for expert witnesses in malpractice cases and sanctions for frivolous suits. The other would have set up special courts for malpractice suits. The committee voted to kill those bills and four others, including a comprehensive reform bill from Gov. Robert Ehrlich.
The committee has yet to take action on Shank's bill to provide "Good Samaritan" immunity for medical personnel working in certain emergency situations, and while it's technically still alive, "I'm not hopeful at this point," he said Thursday.