Thursday, March 17, 2005

Medical review panel

From Wyoming, where voters recently authorized the creation of a review panel to try and keep frivolous malpractice lawsuits out of the courts in the first place:
The medical review panel legislation was introduced to screen
medical malpractice lawsuits in the hopes of eliminating frivolous suits before
they rack up costs that contribute to high medical malpractice insurance
premiums. Some say these premiums are driving doctors out of practice in


Watch out Vets...'re next. From the USA Today:

It's a typical medical malpractice case - except in this 3-year-old dispute, the patient was a sheepdog named Lucky.

Barry Silver, the attorney for Lucky's owners, says that when the case goes to trial this year in Broward County, Fla., he intends to ask jurors to award hundreds of thousands of dollars to the dog's owners, Adam Riff and his mother, Ellen.


The largest judgment in favor of a pet owner has been $39,000, which a jury in Orange County, Calif., awarded last year to Marc Bluestone.

His mutt, Shane, died of liver failure after a misdiagnosis. In a verdict that is being appealed by the vet, the jury awarded Bluestone $30,000 for the dog's "unique value" to his owner, and $9,000 for vet bills.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Fighting back against frivolous lawsuits

From Ohio:

Dr. Zev Maycon has found his name attached to four malpractice lawsuits in the
past three years.

In each case, he was dropped from the suits before they went to trial. But with the last one, he'd had enough. He asked the judge to sanction the plaintiff's attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit against him in Stark County Common Pleas Court.
Visiting Judge Roger G. Lile agreed with Maycon, finding ``frivolous conduct'' by the attorney, Catherine Little, and ordering her to pay him $6,000.

``Basically, they had no real case against me,'' said Maycon, a Canton gastroenterologist. ``The expert witness they had had no criticism of me.... When I couldn't get dropped from the lawsuit and was essentially extorted, I said, `This has to stop. This is wrong.' ''

An interesting statistic buried in the article:

Nationwide, slightly more than six out of every 10 malpractice suits filed are
either dropped or dismissed, according to the Physician Insurers Association of
America. More than three in 10 are settled before trial. Fewer than one in 10
makes it to trial, and, of those, patients prevail in only one in five cases.