California Governor Signs Pain Management Bill
SACRAMENTO, CA -- November 2, 2001-- California Governor Gray Davis recently signed legislation (Ch. 518, AB 487, Laws 2001) that requires physicians to complete 12 hours of continuing education in pain management and the treatment of the terminally ill. AB 487 also requires the Medical Board of California to develop standards for the investigation of complaints concerning the undertreatment and undermedication of pain.
The legislation comes on the heels of the decision in Bergman v. Chin, in which a jury awarded $1.5 million against a physician for failing to prescribe adequate pain medication for an elderly patient who was dying of cancer. Based on charges of reckless conduct and elder abuse, the verdict was obtained by Clayton Kent of Brayton Purcell and James Geagan on behalf of the patient's surviving children. The verdict is believed to be the first time a physician has been held liable in a civil trial for elder abuse and inadequate pain management.
Beverly Bergman, the plaintiff in the landmark case, testified "so that no patient should ever have to suffer" as her father did. Her testimony and the publicity surrounding the case helped gain AB 487's passage.
Brayton Purcell handles a wide variety of cases involving medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice and all types of elder abuse.