Bill Gives Hospitals Catheter Immunity

The House approved 93-4 and sent to the Senate Monday legislation that will grant immunity to hospitals from lawsuits involving injection of “harmful substances” through a catheter.
The bill, HB1172, is intended to free up bed space in facilities treating persons for drug abuse, according to s ponsor Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville.
Drug abuse patients typically receive “massive doses of antibiotics” for infections through a catheter, Ramsey said. Because of fear they – or an associate – will misuse the catheter for drug injections after discharge, such patients are typically held six to 10 days longer than necessary to avoid liability risks, he said. Passage of the bill means hospitals, including the University of Tennessee Medical Center, can discharge patients earlier and allow more patients to receive service.
ohn Sheridan, a victe president of UT Medical Center, told a committee hearing that the facility typically turns away two potential drug addiction patients per day for lack of bed space. The immunity will begin when the patient is discharged from the hospital with a catheter to take home, Ramsey said.

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