State Capitol Session On Tort Reform Could Impact Patient's Rights

Friday, September 6th 2013, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6

A special session at the state capitol is costing taxpayers $30,000 a day. The session is looking at lawsuit reform and how patients can sue their doctors.

A Bixby man says lawmakers need to hear his story before making up their minds.

"I mean, right now I am just in incredible pain," Tom Parker said.

The first thing you notice when you meet Parker -- he can't stop shaking his arms.

"The only time that this stops is when I'm asleep," Parker said.

Parker's problems began in 2011.

He went to the hospital after feeling a piercing pain in his leg.

He said doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, so they gave him medication after medication, and at one point, they told him he had a psychiatric disorder.

He says nurses would give some of the medication intravenously and believes a nerve was hit by a needle, shortly after he developed these tremors.

"It's a living hell," Parker said. "I don't know how else to say it... it's a nightmare."

Parker has talked to lawyers about filing suit but says they all turned him away because of the tort law in Oklahoma.

He supported the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision in June to throw out a 2009 tort reform law.

The justices ruled it was unconstitutional because the law addressed more than one subject.

Gov. Fallin called a special session this week to address the law.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association supports the original law and wants lawmakers to protect doctors from frivolous lawsuits.

In a statement Dr. Carl Hook said, "The 2009 reforms have already paid significant dividends for Oklahoma physicians. We've seen premium rates level off and many specialties have seen significant reductions in rates."

Parker and his wife are asking the legislators to take a good hard look at what's become of his life and do something to protect patients.

"They need to stop the doctors from getting away with doing something that they shouldn't have done," Tonya Parker said.

Lawmakers have been meeting since Tuesday. On Thursday, they passed a dozen bills.

The sessions are expected to wrap up on Monday.