Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Most lawsuits against doctors are over bad outcomes, not malpractice

From South Carolina:

Many physicians acknowledge that their profession has not done enough to reduce medical errors. They argue, correctly, that lawsuits are not the best way to solve the problem: Most lawsuits against doctors are over bad outcomes, not malpractice; and most cases of actual malpractice don’t result in lawsuits, or in any other punitive action. But simply supporting new procedures aimed at systemic errors or wishing the lawsuits would go away isn’t a sufficient answer to the problem. As long as the state operates a self-policing system for physicians, its primary goal should be to discipline that tiny minority of doctors whose carelessness or incompetence truly poses a risk to patients.
Link...

17 comments:

DDL said...
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DDL said...

To be fair to lawyers, when someone with an injury goes to him and asks to be represented, the lawyer has to ask himself if the case is worth pursuing. His time( and especially money) is valuable and he is not going to pursue a case if his expected return is too low. The key words being "expected return" what that means is the probabiity of winning times the payoff amount, summed up over all the scenarios( settling case, cost of trial, appeals, collection).
Converting to mathematical language, a great injury amounts to a high payoff and a small injury amounts to a low payoff. A case where malpractice can be clearly demonstrated amounts to a high probability of winning and a "frivelous" case amounts to a low probability of winning. They may not be thinking this quantitively but its in their head in a qualitative way.
A case with great injury with clear malpractice is a godsend. Personal injury lawyer dreams are made of these. These cases are rainmaking in magnitude and very rare and goes to the few creme of the crop trial lawyers. They all charge the same contingency fee so why not go to the very best of the best. On the other extreme are the cases with small injuries and low chance of demonstrable malpractice.In those cases, even the lowest of the low ambulance chasing attorneys will tell you to get lost.

Somewhere in the middle are the vast majority of cases with great injury and low chance of provable malpractice and small injury with high demonstrable malpractice. What this means is that as your injury goes higher and higher, a lawyer is willing to take a more and more "frivelous" case.

D.P. said...

I would have to agree with this statement--my doctor clearly abandoned me, yet I chose not to sue.

Here's a quote from my own blot at www.xanga.com/difficultpt.

"I created this blog originally because I felt so hurt and confused by an incident with my doctor, and all of the details are in this blog. In the beginning, this site appeared in the top ten sites searched under the words "difficult patient." Then, it ceased to appear at all in any search. The sites that do appear are all written by professionals--by doctors for doctors. Many of them speak of personality disorders and attempt to catagorize difficult patients.

This blog is very personal, and it is written by a difficult patient. It was written to help both myself and others, not to "bash" or "blame." If you are a doctor, please take the time to read through my entries and try to understand the dynamics of the relationship with your "difficult patient." I think this is a far better place to start (the horse's mouth, so to speak . . .) than an article written by someone possibly judging and not really understanding. If you don't have much time, at least read May 16, 17, and 19, the reason "doc" fired me, and "Get the !@#%$% out of my Clinic" (including Preface to "the Letters" , Response to my Inquiry--the "How Nice" letter, and Discharge -- Termination of Medical Care ). If you are a patient, maybe you can relate to some of my experiences and find the courage to open up to your doctor. If you are an attorney, well, I don't have much to say to you . . .you know that your profession contributed to this problem (and that is putting it mildly).

This blog has been therapeutic for me, and it has served its purpose. I hope that my entries will make you laugh, cry, and most of all--learn, grow, and possibly change."

hiro said...
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Just Surfing said...
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Anonymous said...

If you are an attorney, well, I don't have much to say to you . . .you know that your profession contributed to this problem (and that is putting it mildly).
Your comments above are great. My take on this matter and what the policial stand on the malpractice is a joke and saying to the voters, lets lower the high cost of health insurance and regulate medical care. Instead of our law makers diving down to the real problems of high cost health insurance they make you believe there are many reasons to file malpractice lawsuits. My doctors, I have full confidence in, and trust their opionion and help. Because of their (doctors) dedication to the profession they seem to be handcuffed by attorneys and our judisual system not to do their best in servicing our medical needs. I would like people to know, don't believe that "Universal Heathcare" is the answer. If anything the lawyers has damaged our need to have the best healthcare in the world. This limits the doctors to only doing what is known in "Best practices" to satisfy the minimum medical help to us. Medical research is limited as it is worried about lawsuits while trying to help and find solutions to many of our health problems. I could go on-and-on about what needs to be said. Shame on all of you lawyers who want to line your pockets with malpractice $$$$$ money at the expense of higher cost to insurace for each american citizen while blaming the medical profession on bad judgement. You attorneys are the bad guy's which limits the best medical care I could have!!!!

Chicago Medical Malpractice Help said...

I'd have to both agree and disagree. Let me explain...

We've researched a ton of cases where the actual process of treatment has determined the outcome, which means that yes, lawsuits against doctors for malpractice are a result of bad outcomes, but the bad outcomes wouldn't have occurred if proper procedures would have been followed.

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys said...

Yes, people don't always agree with lawyers, but someone has to help when a person is seriously injured because of improper care and treatment in a hospital. If a person is left disabled, many families won't be able to afford the help they need.

medial malpractice said...

I also agree that most of these lawsuits do result from bad out comes. What the patient was expecting and what the outcome was sometimes varies. This is because of unrealistic expectations on the part of the patient

Anonymous said...

My son was injured during birth and suffered a brachial plexus injury. I won't bore others with all the intimate details but I can assure you the Doctor in charge of the delivery completely fabricated the medical records. She even added other doctors to the room that were not even there. The pendulum will swing back due to the few doctors that lack any character. If you are a Doctor that has been sued for frivolous or untrue events I'm sorry that happened to you but keep in mind people in your own profession are going to cause all the reform to be repealed at some point because of their unscrupulous behavior.

george said...

if the medicine your doctor prescribes does not solve the problem, this does not mean that the doctor is guilty of dereliction of duty. When the operation goes wrong and the patient is the same or worse than before surgery, the surgeon is not somehow automatically guilty of medical malpractice. When the doctor decides that the most likely cause of a medical condition is a disease that appears to be another disease that does not automatically mean that the physician acted negligently. A bad result does not automatically mean that the patient received the subpar treatment.

http://www.easydoctors.com/medical-malpractice.html