Danville, CA -- Bob Pack, who lost his seven year old daughter and ten year old son on a roadside nine years ago, filed a ballot measure in California today to address the drug overdose and physician accountability issues at the heart of his family’s tragedy.
The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, which will require 504,760 valid signatures of voters to qualify for the next general election ballot, includes the following changes to California law:
- Mandatory random drug and alcohol testing for physicians and mandatory physician drug and alcohol testing after reports of adverse events;
- Mandatory use by physicians of the electronic CURES database, a searchable system that tracks prescriptions dispensed in California, which Pack developed for the state of California in the wake of his family’s tragedy;
- Adjusting for inflation the 37-year-old $250,000 cap on recovery for medical negligence victims, which has not changed since 1975, and as the author of the original law, Barry Keene, recently came forward to support;
- Requiring doctors who witness substance abuse by physicians or medical negligence to report it, and protecting those physicians from lawsuits by other doctors when they do.
Pack, Consumer Watchdog and medical negligence survivors called upon the legislature on May 2nd in Sacramento to make these changes, then developed the ballot measure following the legislature’s failure to take action.
“For 37 years, injured patients in California have been denied access to justice and strong patient safety protections,” said Pack, a technology executive and one of the pioneers of NetZero. “This ballot measure begins to even the balance of power for innocent patients who are victimized by medical negligence and protects against dangerous and drug-abusing doctors. It’s a simple and reasonable step forward that the legislature should have taken decades ago.”
Alana and Troy Pack were walking on a sidewalk in Danville with Bob’s wife, Carmen, when a drugged driver fell unconscious at the wheel and swerved off the road, killing the two children and injuring Carmen. The Packs also lost their unborn twins.
The driver, Jimena Barreto, turned out to be a doctor-shopping drug addict who was convicted of second-degree murder and imprisoned for 30 years to life. The Kaiser doctors who prescribed her thousands of pills, however, were never held accountable for their negligence.
Barreto had no physical symptoms, but managed to stockpile narcotics without any oversight.
In the wake of his family's tragedy, Pack found that Kaiser's doctors had no idea they were all over-prescribing to the same doctor shopper. There was no computer system tracking prescriptions patients received. Pack drew on his technology background to develop the electronic CURES database, a searchable system that tracks prescriptions dispensed in California. Unfortunately, too few doctors currently use the system. Kaiser does not use the CURES database either.
The Packs were only entitled to recover the $250,000 limit for each of their children’s lives, because that is the maximum value of a child’s life under the 37-year-old cap on noneconomic damages signed into law during Jerry Brown’s first term as governor. The cap is worth merely $58,000 today in 1975 dollars. Adjusting the cap for inflation would increase it to $1.1 million in 2013.
Download the text of the ballot initiative here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/troyandalanapackpatientsafetyactof201400202344.pdf
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