By Ruth Haskins, MD
You might say I was born with the desire to help make things better.
As a child, I was a peacekeeper, trying to mend a difficult family dynamic. In school, I volunteered as the trainer for all the high school women’s sports teams – the “Team Doc,” if you will – giving medical support to players to help the whole team. I knew from a young age that I wanted to practice medicine and provide care and comfort for those that needed it most.
Coming from a poor background, I joined the Air Force, which allowed to attend medical school and also instilled a profound sense of duty and patriotism as I helped protect the freedoms we all cherish. Among these is access to high quality medical care for our family and loved ones when they are sick or injured.
In my 20-plus years as an OB/GYN, I have helped thousands of women – bringing babies into the world, of course – but also truly getting to know patients over the years. In my practice, I have seen how good medical care helps girls and women become better students, better mothers, better wives, better workers and better members of their community. That is extraordinarily gratifying.
One of the things that allows me to practice in a high-risk specialty like obstetrics and gynecology – where intricate surgical procedures and complicated births are a daily occurrence – is the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. MICRA places a reasonable limit on non-economic damages in malpractice cases.
Now a measure on the November ballot, Proposition 46, seeks to undo key portions of MICRA, making it easier and more profitable to sue physicians.
As a doctor and a caregiver, I think this is a terrible idea. If Proposition 46 were to pass, it would make it harder for patients to get access to the medical care they need – as well as drive up costs for everyone. This is a particular concern for me because I see numerous women with low incomes, as well as veterans and their wives and daughters.
So this year, the election is incredible personal to me. It’s about the patients I care for and a profession I love.
My patients and other Californians who need access to quality affordable health care are my “plus one” at the polls this November. I will be voting with them in mind.
Dr. Ruth Haskins completed her undergraduate and medical training at the University of Pittsburgh. She did her internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis AFB. Until 1993 she served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of Major before hanging up her uniform to practice private medicine. Just prior ending her military career, she was awarded a Meritorious Service Award for her work as Chairman of the Department of Ob/Gyn at Scott AFB in O’Fallon, Illinois, supervising 18 physicians and overseeing several thousand deliveries per year. She is now in private practice in Folsom, California.