MARCH 19, 2004 - Posted at 7:20 a.m. CDT
POPLAR BLUFF, MO - Doctors in Poplar Bluff say if malpractice premiums keep going up, patients in southeast Missouri might have to drive three hours, to St. Louis or Memphis, Tennessee to seek medical care.
New controls on the costs of medical malpractice would be imposed under a bill passed by the House this week and sent to the Senate.
Poplar Bluff held a rally this week in support of the bill. Doctors are keeping a close eye on developments in the state capital.
Dr. Donal Piland says he had a patient with a severely broken leg last year. Piland says the woman lost her leg due to a lack of orthopedic surgeons. He says three orthopedists have left the Poplar Bluff area, due in part to rising malpractice premiums.