Gut Rumbles

April 28, 2007

Doctors and lawyers

Originally published January 21, 2005

Let me clarify something I wrote in a post below. I am convinced that both doctors and lawyers fall into that same bell-curve that I've seen in every other line of work I ever watched.

You have 20% who are outstanding. You have 60% who are competent, but not brilliant. Then, you have 20% who need to be dragged off and shot because they're not worth a damn and they never will be. Just look around. You can see the same thing in EVERY PROFESSION, from brick-laying to zygote research. That just the way people are.

What I don't like is the fact the the bottom 20% of doctors aren't the ones facing malpractice suits every day. Even the really good ones get hammered whenever anything goes wrong, whether it's their fault or not. Lawyers and juries seem to expect "zero defects" from doctors, and if a patient dies or suffers complications from a complicated procedure, the automatic assumption is that the doctor did something wrong. And there might be some money to be made.

I've served twice on a jury for malpractice cases. Both cases were bullshit. We didn't give the plaintiff a dime in either case. But somebody spent a lot of money to defend both of them. That's what chaps my ass. What did the lawyer have to lose by suing? Nothing.

I want to see some kind of "loser pays" system in this country.

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