Malpractice in Alabama: Tough laws protect doctors, penalize injured patients

Steve Heninger, who represents patients in medical malpractice and other injury cases, said his clients face an uphill battle.

“I tell them that the doctor starts off on third base and you are in the locker room,” he said.

William Hoston discovered in 2007 he never had the terminal cancer diagnosed the year before by his oncologist, and didn’t need the surgically-implanted port in his chest where doctors dosed him with toxic cocktails of chemotherapy.

Hoston wasn’t the only patient treated by Dr. David Gay Morrison of Montgomery who received devastating diagnoses and aggressive treatment for cancer they didn’t have, according to disciplinary documents that cited more than a dozen similar cases. In 2008, the 67-year-old sued Morrison for medical malpractice, noting the emotional and physical toll inflicted during more than a year of unnecessary cancer treatment.

Hoston lost his case – as do about 90 percent of patients in Alabama who allege injury due to medical malpractice. Between 2004 and 2014, Alabamians received fewer payments per capita in medical malpractice cases against practitioners than residents of any other state, according to an analysis of federal data.


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