Doctors and their insurers went to the Virginia Supreme Court and the legislature this spring seeking relief from a certain kind of medical malpractice suit. They came away with an untested remedy.

The doctors first diagnosed trouble with the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act on March 3, when the Supreme Court upheld a $730,000 verdict against a doctors’ group. The act, adopted in 1987, shields doctors and hospitals from direct liability in cases involving infants severely disabled during birth. Suits involving these injuries are taken out of court and directed to an administrative panel. Any monetary awards come from an account funded by participating doctors and hospitals.