Initiative won’t bring back dead kids

Initiative won’t bring back dead kids

It’s been 11 years since Bob Pack lost his children, Troy, 10, and Alana, 7, to a hit-and-run driver under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs. This week, the Danville dad filed a proposed ballot measure in their memory: The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014.

Lawyers, Cagle, July 27, 2013Among other provisions, the Pack initiative would require random drug and alcohol testing for doctors. It also would require doctors who witness medical negligence or substance abuse by fellow doctors to report it.

Physicians that test positive for alcohol or drugs (while on duty), or who refuse to submit to testing, would be suspended from practicing medicine. And hospitals would be required to report any verified positive results of drug and alcohol testing to the California Medical Board.

Now, for voters who didn’t know any better, they might assume that the hit-and-run driver who killed tender-aged Troy and Alana was a substance-abusing doctor. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the culprit was a 46-year-old nanny, Jimena Barreto, who was behind the wheel of her gold 1979 Mercedes when she careened across two lanes of a Danville street onto a sidewalk where she struck defenseless Troy and Alana.

Had the proposed ballot measure that bears their names been in place 11 years ago, it would have made no difference. It would not have prevented Barreto — convicted of second-degree murder and currently serving consecutive sentences of 15 years to life — from killing the Pack children.


So why is Bob Pack promoting a ballot measure in his dead children’s names that has absolutely nothing to do with them? Because he’s carrying water for the state’s trial lawyers.

Indeed, a provision of the so-called Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would revise the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, the 1975 state law that limits jury awards to$250,000 for “pain and suffering” in cases of physician negligence.

The state’s trial lawyers regard a quarter-million dollars as a mere pittance. Especially when lawyers in other states are earning contingency fees on ginormous Powerball-sized jury awards.

Like the whopping $55 million that a Baltimore jury awarded a Waverly, Md., couple after delivery of their mentally and physically disabled child at Johns Hopkins hospital. The mother tried to have her baby at home with the help of a midwife but, after hours of labor, finally decided to have an emergency Caesarean section at the hospital.

Then there was the $78.5 million a Philadelphia jury awarded a Pottstown, Pa., mom whose newborn child sustained brain damage, her lawyers claimed, because the attending physician “performed an ultrasound examination with outdated, insensitive, and poorly maintained equipment.”

That’s why the state’s trial lawyers have invested $2 million — so far — in Bob Pack’s proposed initiative. It’s not about Troy and Alana, God rest their souls. It’s about raking in multi-million dollar contingency fees.


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  1. Eric Andrist
    Eric Andrist 29 July, 2013, 10:00

    You should be ashamed trying to make this issue about lawyers and totally overlooking the millions of victims that are negatively affected by tort reform in this country.

    How can you say the initiative has nothing to do with Bob Pack’s children? Had the CURES database been in place, the doctors that prescribed all those pharmaceuticals to the kid’s killer, would not have! The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would have made sure that happened. How can you not see that???

    If I’m not mistaken, you’ve got the Troy and Alana Act mixed up with another proposal that has just been submitted to the attorney general’s office for filing, which does also deal with MICRA. The Troy and Alana Act does NOT deal with MICRA. Further, this second bill is NOT sponsored by the “state’s trial lawyers,” it is sponsored by Bob Pack and Consumer Watchdog. The Consumer Attorneys of California have not come out as backing the bill in particular, even though they are for raising the MICRA cap.

    This is irresponsible reporting.

    Reply this comment
  2. Eric Andrist
    Eric Andrist 29 July, 2013, 10:09

    Actually, I got that a little mixed up. SB809 is the Bob Pack bill dealing only with CURES and the Troy And Alana act deals with CURES and MICRA. My apologies.

    Reply this comment
  3. Let It Collapse
    Let It Collapse 29 July, 2013, 13:49

    Wow. That’s my 4rd comment that been wiped out.

    What’s up with that?

    I’m not a liberal. I’m on YOUR side!

    Reply this comment
  4. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 29 July, 2013, 14:35

    My heart goes out to Mr. Pack. But, true, nothing will bring those children back. The person responsible for the horrible tragedy is being punished. I seriously doubt that the proposed initiative will make it through the signature drive.

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 29 July, 2013, 23:39

    In fact, the culprit was a 46-year-old nanny, Jimena Barreto, who was behind the wheel of her gold 1979 Mercedes when she careened across two lanes of a Danville street onto a sidewalk where she struck defenseless Troy and Alana.
    I was living there in Danville when this happened and remember it well, sad.

    Reply this comment
  6. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 31 July, 2013, 08:38

    By this “logic,” maybe we should repeal the Civil Rights Act because it didn’t bring Medgar Evers back.

    Perhaps if the business community use the energy they put into so-called “tort reform” into actually making their products and services safer for American consumers, there would be fewer lawsuits in the first place.

    Reply this comment
  7. Editor Editor 31 July, 2013, 10:18

    Doctors who practice medicine while under the influence of drugs should be punished severely. The California Medical Association’s shameless efforts in Sacramento have shielded bad doctors for years. Doctors, police officers, and legislators should all have to submit to regular drug tests. The public deserves to know the truth.

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 31 July, 2013, 15:53

    Will never happen #7 ^^^^^

    Reply this comment
  9. Jerrold
    Jerrold 25 September, 2013, 02:59

    Joseph, would you be apposed to the act if it didn’t raise the cap on malpractice lawsuits? What do you think is the acceptable limit for medical malpractice lawsuits should be?

    Reply this comment
  10. Laith's Mom
    Laith's Mom 31 October, 2013, 13:19

    You’re right. No amount of money will ever bring back my son. But do we just sit back and let hospitals/doctors play Russian roulette with our loved one’s lives? You know very well you can’t even fight a simple infraction, let alone a medical malpractice case with such a egregious cap in place. This fight is about accountability and preventing tragedies. Unfortunately, just as doctors and insurance companies need to make money, so do attorneys fighting for answers. And I’m not a lawyer, I’m
    a grieving mother who lost faith in the medical community, along with my firstborn son.

    Reply this comment
  11. Liz
    Liz 3 October, 2014, 23:32

    The Packs deserved millions of dollars, not $250,000. Not that the money would bring their children back, but it would be more proportionate to their loss. And with millions of dollars at stake, the medical establishment would provide better care. My husband suffered an anoxic brain injury as a result of a series of shocking medical errors. He was a brilliant man, a computer professional, who lived for nine years after the injury with severe memory problems that made him, not only unable to work, but more like a child than an adult. He needed constant care for his own safety. Because he was in his late 50s when the injury occurred, the “economic” part of our legal settlement was relatively small, and $250,000 did not begin to compensate him for the loss of his once-powerful intellect. In any area of the law EXCEPT medical malpractice, compensations are more fair. Just recently I read in the paper that the woman who was beaten up by a cop on the freeway received a settlement of well over $1 million. I am happy she received the award, she fully deserves it. But she had no lasting physical injury from the incident. The beating was shocking and unjustified, but it was over within minutes. My husband’s suffering (and mine) went on for many, many years. Why should the medical establishment not be fully responsible for their actions and/or omissions — like everyone else?

    Reply this comment
  12. grandma 62
    grandma 62 12 October, 2014, 08:31

    I just read Mr. Pack’s tragic story as I’ve been curious about his statement on tv that he “lost 2 children to preventable medical errors”. How is a drunk driver hitting a group of people on the sidewalk a “preventable medical error”? The driver was taking prescription pain meds but was also drinking vodka prior to hitting the group. Had this bill been in affect at the time this crime would probably still have happened. What does this crime have to do with random drug testing of doctors? Or even of raising malpractice awards? If these propositions would just cover one issue at a time it would make it easier for voters to make an educated choice on which way to vote. There are pros and cons to each part of the proposition and lumping them together makes it difficult to decide.

    Reply this comment
  13. Liz Reyna
    Liz Reyna 12 October, 2014, 11:27

    As I understand it, the driver had received multiple prescriptions from various Kaiser (or other) doctors and was WAY over-medicated. She was not safe to drive as a result… whether or not she was also drinking at the time. One of the provisions of Prop 46 is a database of prescriptions. So a doctor who is asked for a powerful medication can check the database to make sure this patient is not “shopping” for too many meds. A person WAY overmedicated is a danger to all of us…and was the main reason the Pack children died.

    Reply this comment

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