Gut Rumbles

January 21, 2005


You can read this and then read this. Yeah, doctors have no need to fear medical malpractice suits unless they're incompetent.

Naw. We've got no problem with our tort system. Doctors are just being paranoid.

Newsweek noted that “doctors win most malpractice cases that go to trial.” It also made some other points about such lawsuits that Mencimer neither acknowledges nor refutes: Studies suggest malpractice lawsuits “are unfounded in as many as 80 percent of the cases”; malpractice insurers nonetheless “lose often enough to want to settle many claims”; many doctors go to work every day “wondering of they are going to get sued,” especially in high-risk specialties like obstetrics and surgery; “according to one estimate, doctors waste $50 billion to $100 billion on ‘defensive medicine’”; malpractice claims “don’t even do what they are supposed to do--compensate victims and deter future mistakes,” in part because “the vast majority of medical errors go undetected by patients and . . . nine out of ten are never compensated”; “[c]ountless avoidable deaths are actually caused by the system,” because “[f]ear of lawsuits contributes to a culture of secrecy”; and the most dangerously incompetent doctors “often remain in place for many years, in part because employers fear wrongful-dismissal suits by fired doctors even more than malpractice suits by their victims.”

Ladies, I disagree with both of you. We have a BIG problem in the medical profession today that is caused by "bottom-feeders" in the LEGAL profession who sue at the drop of a hat and depend on an ignorant jury to award ridiculous verdicts, whether the verdict is deserved or not. That bullshit is running some doctors out of practice and costing EVERYBODY money.

Except the lawyers.



I did not say there was NOT a need for tort reform.

My issue with guy was his position that he would NOT treat my innocent four year old because of my profession.

If all physicians felt as he does, my four-year old would be denied medical treatment.


There are "bottom feeders" in every profession.

While there are doctors who are motivated to help the sick and infirm, there are many more motivated by the BIG BUCKS. Same thing can be said for attorneys. I do not deny that.

There are serious issues that need to be addressed about medical care AND tort reform.

You have a huge audience and an ideal platform here, Rob. Encourage your readers to contact their congressmen.

DEMAND that changes be made.

Submit proposed legislation.

I'm all for it, just don't make my four year old a victim.

Posted by: Christina on January 21, 2005 12:54 PM

So, some lawyers are crooked pieces of shit. Some doctors are lazy, incompetent assholes.

There will be the good and the bad in every profession. And while this problem is out of hand, at least allow for an exception to your rule.

There is no need for every lawyer out there to have to feel the heat on this one. There are those with and without ethical standards in any profession.

We lose business here in my office every day because we won't bend on the numbers. We've killed closings. Many attorneys have a personal code of ethics as well.

We just need more of them.

Posted by: Key on January 21, 2005 02:20 PM

From what I've read/heard over time, you have two factors here. One is, indeed, that there are scum-sucking lawyers who will sue anyone over anything if it'll either make a political point and/or make them money.

Second, far too many doctors have been/are willing to help try to cover up when an incompetent or crooked doctor messes up. By doing so, more people are hurt by the jerk, and the reputation of doctors in general is slammed. "Why should I believe you? I heard how (blank) just went to another state and got a license there, and you people didn't do anything".

Fault on both sides. I do agree tort reform is a vital issue.

Posted by: Mark on January 21, 2005 03:27 PM

"Studies suggest malpractice lawsuits “are unfounded in as many as 80 percent of the cases”

Unfortunately, even those 80% unfounded cases must be defended. That means win or lose, the defendant doctor and/or his malpractice insurance company are out a large wad of cash.


Posted by: Roy on January 21, 2005 06:22 PM

ROy kind of hit the nail on the head, win, lose or draw, dollars are spent in court. Someone ends up paying no matter what the ruling.

Yes, as Key pointed out there are good and bad in both professions. The bad ones screw it up for all as in ANY profession.

Christina, when you say BIG BUCKS, do yourself a favor first. Research the cost of getting a medical degree. Then research the "Speciality in..." costing. Then price a simple X-Ray machine that we all think a doc should have available.
Now figure out how long it will take to pay all that stuff off, and at what $ per hour/visit rate.
Now add in malpractise expense, thanks to all the BAD lawyers and patience that want to sue.
I have a lot of family in the medical field. Most take home lower middle class income. And that is after they are established.
You couldn't pay (or at least offer) me enough to be in medicine today. There really is no money in it.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on January 21, 2005 07:03 PM

Wichi Dude,

I have both doctors and lawyers in my family.

Do yourself a favor and research how much a J.D. costs, as well.

My doctor outsources x-rays and blood tests to the hospital (as well as other facilities) and doesn't have one in his office.

My brother-in-law is an ER doctor because he does not want the hassle of repeat patients and being on call. He's a nice guy and pulls in $350K a year.

I don't know what you consider to be lower middle class income, but to me that's a heck of a lot of money.

Reform, guys. There needs to be reform and and more energy and attention thrown at creating that reform than pointing fingers and taking shots at one another.

Posted by: Christina on January 21, 2005 07:34 PM

Reform, guys. There needs to be reform...
Simple. Two to the chest, one to the head. So, we'll need three rounds per lawyer...

Oh, wait. You don't like shots being taken.

*sigh* Nevermind.

So, what do you suggest? Award-caps won't prevent scum-sucking lawyers from doing their evil bidding and will harm those people who really do deserve and require the money. "Loser-pays" sounds great--until you realize that most juries don't have Rob among them but, rather, comprise fucking idiots who will probably feel even more inclined to find for the plaintiff lest the poor guy have to pay the eeeeeevil insurance company's legal fees.

Since being scum is not disbarrable and being stupid will continue to be the usual criteria for jury selection, is there some way to put the screws to the judges?

Posted by: D.J. M.B. on January 21, 2005 09:35 PM

Let's sue the trial attorneys!

Any lawyers out there who can construct a plausible rationale?

If more of us had the balls to resist frivolous lawsuits on principle, we could put paid to the problem.

One tactic we could adopt from the litigation industry: keep trying until we achieve success.

Posted by: Brett on January 21, 2005 11:51 PM

I suppose if the errors are undetectable, they will remain countless. Yet it is often possible to detect death. And we are able to see Dr. Rather, who looks of death. What error caused him? Perhaps he has the secret documents, proving the cover up. Yes.

Posted by: Ga-ne-sha on January 22, 2005 04:01 AM

All I have to add is that both professions have the financial resources to spread an incredible amount of propaganda for their respective agendas. You can find data to back up your point of view....all you have to do is google your agenda's keywords.

The book that I cited in my posting is written by a surgeon, not a lawyer. That he has the balls to write about the lack of quality control does mean something.

In addition, my mother died as a result of a doctor's fuck up. Had she been properly diagnosed, she would likely be here today. Instead, she suffered for years, and the doctors finally figured out the source of her disease during the autopsy.

My personal decision was to NOT sue, because nothing would have brought her back. Yet I do recognize the right for family members to sue, and the legal system does too.

Posted by: sadie on January 22, 2005 08:01 AM
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