By Bob Cusack - 09/21/10 06:21 PM EDT
A family physician who serves in the Senate says he has stopped delivering babies because of liability costs.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday said, “I’m no longer delivering babies, and one of the reasons is that I can’t collect… to pay for the malpractice [premiums].”
The Oklahoma senator made the remarks at a breakfast hosted by The Hill and sponsored by the American College of Cardiology.
Coburn’s decision to continue practicing medicine has attracted controversy. In 2008, the Senate Ethics Committee warned Coburn that he would be breaking Senate rules on outside income if he continued to work as a physician.
At the time, Coburn noted he worked for free and paid administrative and malpractice premiums out of his own pocket. And he vowed to continue delivering babies, saying, “I’m not going to stop."
It is unclear when Coburn delivered his last baby. A spokesman for the senator could not be reached for comment.
Coburn still practices medicine, however. He said he schedules patients starting early Monday mornings before he flies to Washington, D.C., for what he called his “primary obligation.”
Coburn said he has delivered 4,000 babies, adding, “It was one of the best things I did in medicine.”