A Father’s Message

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in one of two ways – either by losing hope and giving up, or by using the tragedy to find our inner strength and do good.” – The Dalai Lama

My name is Brian Murphy. On January 27, 2010, I cradled my only son in my arms as he died of a preventable and misdiagnosed illness. You might imagine that the needless death of a child is something that can only happen in a third-world country, where there is little access to quality healthcare and insurance. However, more than 1,000 people die every day due to medical error in the United States. I am a teacher with benefits who took my son to all his wellness check-ups, yet, I was still unable to save him.

In cases of malpractice, you might be surprised to know that the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) places a cap on pain and suffering of a loved one at $250,000. It’s appalling to think the life of a child is worth so little. The limit is based on noneconomic damages. Children harmed by medical malpractice receive no justice due to the lack of wage earning.

In most cases, lawyers refuse to take cases that are limited by MICRA. Medical malpractice cases are incredibly expensive to litigate, with little or no incentive for the lawyers. Even when you are lucky enough to contract a lawyer, most of the money is consumed by the litigation costs.

While there is no amount of money that will ease the incredible amount of pain I struggle with on a daily basis, I’ve found a way to survive by telling Quin’s story. I share the knowledge I’ve gained from losing my son to help prevent another family from having to experience the needless loss of a family member due to medical error.

You Have a Voice

Help is available. When you feel like your medical needs are being ignored, and you are not receiving proper medical care, contact:

Department of Managed Health Care: 1-888-466-2219
Online: www.hmohelp.ca.gov

You Have Rights

You have the right to receive care when you need it:

  • To receive an appointment with a doctor when you need one.
  • To receive an appointment with a specialist when you need one.
  • To receive continuity of care if your doctor or medical group leaves your insurance plan.
  • To receive treatment for certain mental health conditions.
  • To obtain a second doctor’s opinion.
  • To know why your plan denied a service or treatment.

You have the right to understand your health problems and the treatments available:

  • To obtain a written diagnosis from the doctor (a description of your health problem).
  • To provide informed consent when you have a treatment.

You have the right to file a complaint and ask for an Independent Medical Review:

  • To file a complaint if you have a problem with your health insurance plan.
  • To ask for an Independent Medical Review of a decision your health insurance plan makes about your care.

You have the right to see your medical records:

  • To receive a copy of your medical records (duplication charges may apply).
  • To add your own notes to your records.