The second public hearing for Bill 112, the controversial medical malpractice bill introduced by Speaker Therese Terlaje, ran long again last night starting at 5 pm and stretching almost six hours, finally ending at 10:42 pm.
Supporters both for and against the bill came out forcefully making their arguments. The medical community continued its assault on the bill, while those who lost loved ones to medical malpractice gave tearful testimony.
One doctor said that during his own malpractice case, he was advised not to fight it because the jury would only see the loss of the family who was suing him and wouldn’t be unable to make a rational decision. He said that Bill 112 would expose the doctors on island to the same sort of vulnerability.
Others claim that the doctors want to hide behind the current arbitration law to avoid accountability. Still, others suggested various fees to help pay for the cost of arbitration in order to retain the process but make it more affordable.
Meanwhile, a California lawyer who testified against Bill 112 caused a commotion by breaking the pre-arranged rule on length of testimony.
Attorney Edward Lear, who said he was hired by the health care community on Guam, wanted to continue speaking even though his allotted time was up. Legislative staffers had to escort Lear out of the public hearing room.
At the end of the hearing, Speaker Terlaje said that a third public hearing on Bill 112 will be announced.