As discussed some time ago, the past Secretary of Health, Dr. Lorenzo González, administratively amended the Regulation 8131 (trauma centers certification) with the only purpose of unjustly favoring doctors and hospitals by limiting the maximum compensation of $75,000 for the damages sustained by any medical malpractice victim in any certified trauma center. Without a doubt, regulation’s amendment, in the dark of the night, without a public hearing and approved in less than 24 hours, puts at risk the right of compensation of thousands of medical malpractice victims in Puerto Rico.
After the approval of the regulation, approximately 20 hospitals obtained, in record time, the certification as “trauma centers”.
However, the actual Secretary of Health, Dr. Francisco M. Joglar Pesquera, after an investigation of the regulation and each of the issued certifications to the so called “trauma centers”, revoked with immediate nature, the said regulation and declared invalid all its clauses. The Secretary of Health had multiple reasons. On one hand, the investigation of the certified trauma centers’ files showed the lack of documentation that would justify the hospital’s trauma center certifications. Also, the regulation lacks the adequate standards in order to evaluate the certified personnel who can work in those centers and in order to classify trauma patients. It was concluded that no sufficient documentation existed to justify the classification of those hospitals as trauma centers. The Secretary of Health, also, determine that the regulation exceeded the limits established by the statute that authorizes it, that it is vague and it is incompatible with the purpose for which it was originally created.
We congratulate the Secretary of Health for a correct course of action that benefits the people of Puerto Rico.