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Author Topic: Malpractice, Etc  (Read 1248 times)

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Offline SheronaTopic starter

Malpractice, Etc
« on: August 29, 2008, 07:03:03 PM »
Public health care can have the effect of costing less when expanded:

1: Healthier people are more productive
2: People with access to public health care can afford to go early, when the situation is not an emergency. This does not just make treatment in general less expensive, it also reduces the load on those who provide emergency care
3: Access to public health care pulls the rug out of a number of forms of lawsuits

This of course would be best combined with other health care reforms, such as tossing doctors after their second malpractice violation.

But don't outright assume expanding a program will make it cost more.

I have to say that the thing in bold is hard to do when there are frivolous malpractice suits. I know in some places, like Phoenix Arizona OB/GYN's are getting more and more scarce because malpractice insurance on OB's are just outrageous..part to blame on frivolous suits..*goes to look up her source on that as this has been almost four years since I was researching OB's and found the article*

Source: http://www.protectpatientsnow.org/site/c.8oIDJLNnHlE/b.1549439/k.212E/Case_of_the_Disappearing_Doctor.htm
« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 07:24:59 PM by Sherona »

Offline Apple of Eris

Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2008, 09:55:09 PM »
Medical malpractice suits are not the demon people make them out to be. According to the Congressional Budgetary Office a reduction of even about 30% in malpractice costs would only lower costs by about .4%.

Let's stop blaming the lawyers, eh?

By the way, yes, I am one. I'm a corporate lawyer. I spend my time defending companies against lawsuits - though I tend to service hospitality related industries.

Think about this for a minute though before you get all crazy about tort reform. Suppose you go in for surgery, the doctors make a mistake, suppose they're drunk, now you've for example, lost the use of your leg for the rest of your life. The jury in your case award you $286K for lost wages and medical expenses, not too bad, but that money is gone, that's just to pay your bills. Punitive damages awarded on top of your expenses are 3.3 million awarded by a jury. Would you trade a leg for 3 million? Well okay, here's your three mil- oh... wait... you live in California? Oh! Sorry, you actually only get 250K on top of your medical expenses. Oh and of that? Yeah, your legal fees are going to run you about a third. So really you get about 165,000 for your leg.

Seems pretty far fetched huh? Nope, try the case of Yvonne Kimura in San Francisco of whom almost exactly that occurred. Want to trade your leg for 165K? Didn't think so.

Or let's consider the case of a North Carolina woman who received severe nerve and jaw damage while having her wisdom teeth removed. The pain medication she was placed on was so strong it resulted in an impacted bowel, requiring major surgery, the removal of several feet of small intestine, part of her colon, and her reproductive organs. Jury award 5 million: she received 250K minus fees. A future of trouble digesting and not being able to bear children, oh and of course there was the fun pain and major surgery she got to experience as well. Think that's only worth 250K?

Maybe I'm a little off here, but if the doctors weren't making mistakes, they wouldn't have to worry so much about their insurance rates.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2008, 10:52:40 PM »
Split this from this thread: http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=20172.0

As with many forms of insurance, part of the problem is the doctors who are making the mistakes, or who are deliberately ignoring procedure, and then continuing to practice.

Malpractice is incompetence, negligence, or outright idiocy and hubris. It's not supposed to be for "oops, the scalpel slipped for the first time on my nine thousandth surgery of this kind". Surgery, treatment - medicine - is not without its risks. Any time you invade the body, there is going to be consequences. It's just that the chance of consequences is so small that generally the cure is better than the cause. It's when the cure is worse than the cause that people get pissy. But that's the risk you take. Every time. Every time. For instance, every time someone gets their tongue pierced, they run the risk of having their tongue swell up and suffocate them. Piercing is a relatively minor invasion, and not something that even needs to be done by a trained M.D.

It's the people that attempt procedures for which they are not trained, without proper supervision, that mess things up badly. It's for the people that are handling too many cases, who are being hasty, who are not doing their job the way it should be done. You may not be the best doctor in the world, but if you practice medicine responsibly, you should not ever have to make a claim on your malpractice insurance. It's somewhat like auto insurance that way - the majority of people should never need it.

Instead, you have doctors continuing to practice medicine after multiple incidences of gross incompetence, or after quite a few unethical incidents. And sooner or later, they are going to end up on the wrong side of the wrong patient, and get sued for a large sum of money. They should have punitive damages. They should get their asses kicked. But it should not be at the cost of the insurance company. The money to take care of that patient should come out of the doctor's pocket, for the rest of their life if need be. Unfortunately, with that system, you get intot he same problems that the child support system has... you would have deadbeat doctors as well as deadbeat dads, and the patient suffers even more. With more widespread reporting between states, and more reciprocity across state databanks, though, it would become increasingly easy to use their medical license to track doctors who try to set up shop elsewhere, and to enforce payments on them if they owe.

These are the peckerheads who should suffer the wrath of the insurance system. Not the patient. And not the practitioners out there who actually obey the law and care about their patients.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 10:55:14 PM by Trieste »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 01:56:04 PM »
We can extend this to related lawsuits lets a drug is approved for use by the FDA and was tested, then a small number of people have a bad reaction why do they even get the right to sue? As I see it if a million people take this drug lets call it DRUG 1 and one hundred have a negative reaction its not that bad if the remaining people had only minor normal reactions or none. It can be expected a small number would have a bad reaction isn't that just common sense?

Thats the problem common sense is gone right out the window. If a doctor delivers a baby and it had a cord around its neck and has cerebral palsy (that is my case) you sue. Doesn't matter that having children has risks and even the best medical facility in the world might not make every case come out perfectly for the mother or child. I think a better standard would be is there demonstrated gross negligence that caused the problem or did the compnay lie about this drug so all the risks were not exposed to the FDA.


Online Vekseid

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2008, 06:24:08 PM »
Medical malpractice suits are not the demon people make them out to be. According to the Congressional Budgetary Office a reduction of even about 30% in malpractice costs would only lower costs by about .4%.

Let's stop blaming the lawyers, eh?

Actually it's the insurance costs... I don't know how it can possibly be only ~1.4%, many doctors need to pay in excess of a million dollars a year in malpractice insurance - this from relatives who have worked with said doctors.

I will blame lawyers for the proliferation of hard to find legal code and procedures though.

Quote
Maybe I'm a little off here, but if the doctors weren't making mistakes, they wouldn't have to worry so much about their insurance rates.

And thus the reason for my line - most repeat malpractice offenders are not disciplined.

Now, I know the doctor's side of this one - actually touched on in the article, especially in regards to ridiculous lawsuits getting filed and won because of some birth defect the doctor had no right to know about. So I don't consider lawyers innocent here, either.

Offline Storiwyr

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 12:44:53 AM »
I always think too much about these things. I do agree that there are a large number of doctors out there who are being punished via high malpractice insurance rates for the mistakes (often repeated) of their incompetent colleagues. It would be unfair to expect that a doctor never make a mistake. The consequences of a mistake are just potentially greater for a doctor. Who HASN'T made a mistake in their job? The difference is that when you sell shoes, work as an accountant, write poetry, or teach, your mistakes are unlikely to be fatal or extremely painful for those they affect. Mistakes are also often easier to fix in other professions.

However, repeated mistakes are not inevitable. Repeated mistakes--especially the same mistakes--are a sign of negligence, incompetence or malevolence.

I used to tend towards disdain to those who filed malpractice suits. Then my cousin was born dead and resuscitated with permanent brain damage. All because the obstetrician told my aunt--who had suffered a placenta previa in a previous birth--that recurrence was unlikely. My aunt, expecting her doctor to know what he was talking about, took his word for it. As a result of this, and sluggish response time when she went into labor and my cousin began to show cardiac distress, my cousin will be dependent on her parents' 24 hour care for the rest of her life. Most damning, when confronted with the misinformation, the doctor insisted he had not said what he had said at all. Despite having said it on multiple occasions. Three years later, my cousin is wheelchair, has seizures on a regular basis, wears glasses and hearing aids, cannot and will not ever speak, cannot control most of her body, and is incapable of swallowing. The jury for the malpractice suit was seated yesterday. The hope is that my aunt and uncle can obtain at least enough money to cover part of the care that her conditions have necessitated thus far. It will not go even CLOSE to funding a life of frequent hospital visits and expensive treatments.

Offline Methos

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2008, 04:30:00 PM »
The insurance cost will be so high Vekseid because it only takes a few doctors screwing up royally in order to generate rather large settlements or judgments.  Insurance premiums are set to expected losses.

To some extent I'm sympathetic to the doctors. They're human beings, and to err is human they simply have graver circumstances for their mistakes.

Tort law is construed to compensate those who suffer losses. Some of the awards in the American system are quite prolific, and at times I can't help but be a might bit jealous as other systems derived from the English common law have been less generous with the amounts of their awards.

However, I generally find it wrong headed to state that most suits are 'frivolus' without there being some bases for that. Most tort based claims are based upon medical evidence of impairment and injury and seeking compensation for that.

If you want to say the American system issues too much compensation in some instances, you might have point.

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Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2008, 09:41:24 PM »
The problem with most malpractice cases, in medicine, is that its usually so gray. I mean if he leaves a sponge in sue his ass. However, if an open heart just doesn't take the family can still sue for malpractice.

Offline Methos

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2008, 12:00:00 AM »
Well the difference is the sponge is a mistake. A surgery that doesn't have the desired result is just a simple fact of life. No drug or proceedure is a guarantee, expecially with some dicy like open heart surgery.

Online Vekseid

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 02:51:10 AM »
The insurance cost will be so high Vekseid because it only takes a few doctors screwing up royally in order to generate rather large settlements or judgments.  Insurance premiums are set to expected losses.

...or you could have read Apple's post and mine and saved yourself some trouble?

Malpractice costs are driving doctors out of high-risk professions (especially OB/GYN), and holding hospitals at gunpoint while they earn double-digit profit margins and some hospitals are forced under 1%.

Above and beyond the idiocy of the malpractice insurers, there is also the issue that rising malpractice costs lead to a reinforcing cost increase cycle, which isn't helped by working hand in hand with the same cycle created by the legal profession.

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Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2008, 07:17:17 AM »
Well the difference is the sponge is a mistake. A surgery that doesn't have the desired result is just a simple fact of life. No drug or proceedure is a guarantee, expecially with some dicy like open heart surgery.
I believe I pointed out that the sponge won't stand on its own two legs in court.
Still, you cannot stop someone for filing a suit against you and even if the surgery is risky a family can still sue the doctor under the allegation of malpractice. Because malpractice by its legal definition is the accusation that a professional didn't do his professional best.
Even if a doctor wins that can still look bad.

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: Malpractice, Etc
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2008, 05:33:53 PM »
I usually avoid these threads because they get me all worked up and I come here to relax and have fun, so I think this'll be my last word on this topic.


Awards in malpractice: First off, I don't agree to limitations set by law, because every case should be judged on its own merits. Someone loses a tooth, fine, lmit those damages. Someone becomes a cripple for the rest of their life and needs to be hooked up to a ventilator, is 250,000 really enough when that is only going to cover about five years of medical fees and this person is only 22?

Judges can and do limit damages already. They have that power. When a jury finds a verdict and decides on a reward, a judge can modify the award and heck, even the verdict! We don't need laws unnecessarily clipping the wings of people trying to find recompense for physical, proprietal, and even emotional distress inflicted upon them. Tort law and lawsuits were instrumental in getting various harmful drugs unapproved, and getting susbtances like Asbestos banned from use. Even an assistant director of the FDA one rmarked that the FDA itself can not protect America. Lawsuits are a fundamental and important part in shaping the body of American civil and common law; to impose laws tht limit the ability of courts, which are isolated from political pressures such as lobbyists, to regulate industries and businesses that may otherwise prey upon people, is to leave people open to abuses not only by doctors but the medical industry as a whole.

And if you believe that market pressures or good will on the part of those companies is enough alone to keep them regulating themselves, then you're surely living in a world which has little in common with the reality of our own. The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that "The Food and Drug Administration is in no position to guarantee drug safety" and that "Lawsuits can serve as a vital deterrent and protect consumers if drug companies don't disclose risks". Two FDA commissioners agred with this assessment, and plaintiff's lawyers have become an essential tool for the FDA in further researching drug approvals.

But we don't need those protections. *shrug*


BTW: If a doctor leaves a sponge in a patient, the patient could sue, but would probably only recover the costs of the removal of said sponge plus lost wages. If the patient experienced distress from the negligence, then their damages would likely increase.

Also you can file suits, sure. But some states have enacted laws prohibiting 'frivilous' lawsuits. Enough of thoe and a lawyer may find themselves disbarred. And don't forget too, that if a judge finds that a case has no merit, she can simply dismiss the motion for trial before the case ever reaches the trial stage!