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Woman challenging state law limiting malpractice awards against UW doctors

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Verona woman has asked the courts to strike down a 34-year-old state law which limits malpractice awards against UW Hospital doctors to a quarter-million dollars each.

A jury recently awarded Terri Fiez $1.8 million, to compensate for the death of her husband Robert. He died three years ago of blood clots in his lungs.

Terri Fiez filed a wrongful death suit against a UW doctor – and the jury awarded more than seven times the amount allowed under a 1979 law designed to protect taxpayers from large malpractice awards.

Other doctors are subject to a $750,000 limit on non-economic damages, with no cap for actual economic losses.

It’s the first time the exception for UW personnel is being challenged. A hearing is set for August 27th in Dane County Circuit Court.

Fiez’ attorney, Eric Farnsworth, says the law means that a widow whose husband died at the UW would be much worse off than at other hospitals when there’s a fatal mistake.

The UW has not commented.