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Medical malpractice could change with Ohio Personhood Initiative

When a doctor negligently fails to do what it takes to preserve someone's wellness, it is considered medical malpractice. However, when saving the life of a mother means the destruction of her fertilized egg, which life is more important? That being said, is a fertilized egg a person? Indeed, these are hotly debated questions, and they could affect Ohio medical malpractice law.

Ohio residents may be interested to know about the recent Mississippi Personhood Initiative that appeared for public vote earlier this month. The legal measure did not receive enough votes to succeed; however, if it had, it would have affected the "personhood" status of a fertilized egg. The initiative appeared on the ballot as follows: "Should the term 'person' be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?" If it had passed, the initiative would have amended the Mississippi Constitution.

In October, at a Jackson State University town hall event, one fertilization doctor suggested that doctors' medical malpractice insurance premiums would increase if personhood became law. He even said that doctors might suffer from criminal charges in cases where it is necessary to destroy a fertilized egg in order to save a woman's life. Indeed, would "personhood" affect the doctor's ability to give his patient the treatment she needs?

Although the Mississippi initiative didn't succeed, a similar initiative is planned for Ohio. While some believe that saying a fertilized egg is a person will not interfere with a doctor's ability to provide medical care and a woman's right to choose abortion, others worry that it may. While these are difficult questions, what is of paramount importance is that all patients are treated within the acceptable standard of medical care; however the law defines a "person."

Those suspecting that they or a loved one has been victimized by substandard care would benefit from consulting an attorney experienced in medical malpractice law and procedure. A lawyer can help review all of the facts and circumstances relating to the incident, as well as determine the issues of liability and seek monetary damages from those who have injured their patients by providing a less than acceptable standard of medical care.

Source: The Gambit, "Is an egg a person?," Valerie Wells, Nov. 15, 2011

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