Originally created 04/02/04

Senator says she was threatened



ATLANTA - A Savannah senator said Thursday she was threatened after she voted against a cap on the size of noneconomic damages awarded to successful plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits.

In an impassioned floor speech, Sen. Regina Thomas, D-Savannah, said the threats came through her e-mail.

Ms. Thomas didn't say who sent the threats, though she hinted it was someone in the medical profession.

"Hopefully, you will never have to be admitted to any of our hospitals, nor will any member of your family," Ms. Thomas said, paraphrasing one of the e-mails.

Ms. Thomas said she wouldn't be intimidated by the threats.

"You may hurt this body, but you can't touch my soul," she said. "You can't dampen my spirit."

Ms. Thomas also implied she might try to take action against those who had threatened her.

"You don't threaten me, and you don't threaten my family. This matter will be handled," she said.

In her speech, Ms. Thomas labeled the Senate a "den of inequity" and said a lax stance by the office of the state's insurance commissioner was more to blame than noneconomic damage awards for soaring medical-malpractice insurance premiums.

Medical groups claim those awards are pushing up insurance costs.

Reach Brandon Larrabee at (404) 681-1701

or brandon.larrabee@morris.com.