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A Growing Circle in the Pond of Medicine - Health Care Rx Panelists

A Growing Circle in the Pond of Medicine

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As a chronically ill patient and a former nurse of many years, I see malpractice as an ever-growing circle in the pond of medical care. The threat of lawsuit eats at the judgment of good, well-trained physicians.

Our wildly litigious society is ever ready to "collect." I've seen friends collect from stores when they trip over their own feet. The person or institution should pay the costs of injuries if they are truly at fault. Doctors are not the only ones who are liable -- we all are. We have to worry about cracks in the sidewalk in front of our house, don't we?

We have to educate the public to realize it is not their God-given right to collect for every incident in their lives. Why does blame always have to be placed? Many of our fellow citizens see all insurance companies, both medical and others, as banks to be visited when the opportunities arise: make a withdrawal.

Doctors are a much-needed part of our society but they are, after all, only well-trained, well-paid, very well educated technicians. They are also human beings who often work long hours, have bad days. Sometimes, they screw up. There's a big difference between a doctor who makes a medical mistake and one who is irresponsible and careless. All doctors, even the best ones, make mistakes. One of the best OB men I ever knew cut a baby's ear during a C-section. Errors occur. That's a far cry from the doctor who is poorly educated, drinks too much or callously schedules too many surgeries so he can take his vacation a day early.

Since most hospitals already have physicians and lawyers who watch and evaluate these problems, perhaps we could also use a special court that could make fair judgments. They could consist of doctors and attorneys. Their main purpose would be to find and uncover the truth. Insurance companies and attorneys have to stop encouraging the "give me" behavior of individuals who know the insurance company will settle rather than go to court.

The confidence and trust that should exist between a doctor and his or her patient is being eroded by this threat that hangs over the head of all physicians. Are caps the answer? Perhaps. An independent court could decide based on full medical knowledge. Certainly, there are cases in which the individual patient has been maimed or harmed and will need life-long care. There are others cases in which someone is being paid off for punitive damages alone. This is a much larger subject than simply embracing the medical community. It requires re-education of society to knock it off. What are the chances of that?

3 Comments

There is a big difference between an honest mistake and gross neglegence. Doctors who are negligent would like to tell you that everything is a simple mistake but sometimes they don't act professionally and in their patient's interest. The quality of care varies quite significantly. The job is not paid well only because it requires skill but also because it requires responcibility.

I agree there are many abuses of medical malpractice, but when malpractices are made legally difficult to persue, gross negligence will be easier to justify. There will be nothing to punish hospitals who cut essential services. As corporations they want to reduce costs, and their main costs are quality doctors and nurses. While most hospital doctors and nurses are still good many of them are overworked and exhausted. What do you think that does to their quality of care?

TonieB, So true. Life has changed in our country and we've embraced the open hand with the "give me" attitude instead of the helping hand and the "I can take care of myself" attitude. Many of us have had hard times, worked our way through school and known what it is to be in charge of our own lives. Taking money from someone else because they're insured or have more than we do is not the secret to success. Of course, when great injury is done and someone needs lifetime care that's a different matter entirely. Thanks again for sharing, Sue

I remember where I grew up in rural Va, there was an older couple who always had the best of everything. It was well known they had sued several people for car accidents and the first malpractice suit I ever heard of. You knew to stay clear of them and their property. "they'll sue you" No one wanted to be friends with them for fear of a fall or accident taking place at your home.

Now it has become a ritual of "get rich quick". I agree with you that where there is neglect or harm done, that is a different set of circumstances. We do need to reeducate the public to get away from the mentality that someone "owes" you something and that there is an easy way out of lifes' daily routine. Being responsible for ones own actions has become a thing of the past. The fault always lies at the other man's door.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Crime category.

Cooperatives is the previous category.

Doctors is the next category.

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