Medical Malpractice

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    EM momEM mom

    I got this article through a listserve that I am involved in and thought it was a very interesting comparison. Interesting how physicians are held to a different standard than other professionals. Just curious as to what you all think!

    Richard Schwartz
    The Daily News
    February 12, 2004

    Harry Rapkin must be grateful that there is no such thing as suing a
    judge. Rapkin is the Florida circuit judge who passed up an opportunity
    Dec. 30 to throw Joseph Smith into the clink for violating probation on
    drug conviction. Smith is now the suspect in the abduction and murder
    11-year-old Carlie Brucia.

    Legal experts say Rapkin did nothing terribly wrong in not jailing
    for falling behind in paying court fines. But the Brucia family is
    understandably outraged. Had Smith been confined, their daughter might
    alive. “If Rapkin were allowed to be sued, a jury so horrified by what
    happened to that poor little girl might find fault with the judge –
    though he may have been justified in his ruling concerning Smith,” said
    malpractice defense lawyer Sanford Gold.

    But judges cannot be sued. If it were allowed, our already contorted
    costly justice system would be even more so. It would be like, well,
    medical system.

    Consider, for example, what has been happening in the field of
    Every day, thousands of babies are born in America. Some have problems.
    Sometimes the doctor is at fault, sometimes not. All too often, the
    obstetrician has done nothing wrong, yet the baby has a defect or dies.
    The distraught parents sue, and a jury, swayed by emotion, rules
    the doctor. A career is needlessly ruined.

    Today, a combination of runaway juries, pro-plaintiff judges and greedy
    trial lawyers who sue at the drop of a stethoscope has forced the
    profession to rewrite its rules. Doctors now practice defensive
    using unnecessary tests and procedures to avoid being sued.
    who are sued more than just about any other type of doctor, have had to
    embrace defensive medicine big time.

    Just look at the explosion in Caesarean-section births in this country.
    1970, only 5% of babies were delivered through this procedure. Today,
    nearly 25% of U.S. births are C-sections. It’s the most common major
    operation in the country, with about 1 million performed per year. The
    World Health Organization advises there’s no reason to have “more than
    10%-15% Caesarean-section births.” But when something goes wrong with
    natural births, doctors get sued because they didn’t intervene and
    operate. So they’ve learned: When in doubt, apply the scalpel.

    Many young doctors won’t specialize in obstetrics. They fear the threat
    suits and wince at malpractice insurance costs, which run around
    a year. Last summer, Manhattan’s Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center,
    which practiced natural childbirth, had to close when its malpractice
    premiums rocketed to $2 million.

    Litigation reformer Philip Howard has a solution: Create a special
    court. Replace sympathy-prone juries with experienced judges
    in medical procedures who would limit the size of pain-and-suffering
    awards and compensate plaintiffs according to a preestablished formula,
    depending on the injury.

    Lotto-size jury awards would be supplanted by settlements that are fair
    patients and doctors. Incompetent doctors would be sanctioned but
    mistakes would not end a career.

    Such a system would relieve obstetricians and all doctors of enormous
    stress and let them make decisions in the best interests of patients.
    would end the wasteful practice of defensive medicine, which costs our
    economy an estimated $50 billion to $100 billion a year. It would allow
    doctors to do what they think is right.

    If you want people to do their best, you can’t keep suing them when
    they do.


    This is exactly why no matter how much I enjoy my ob/gyn rotation I will *not* even remotely consider this specialty period. I will not risk all the time, effort, money, and what my family has sacrificed to give it all up and possibly lose my license over a frivolous lawsuit. I hate to say this but this is the reason why many ob docs have stopped delivering babies…if something is not done soon there will be a huge lack of obstetricians.

    DrWuStar *DrWuStar*

    i was first drawn to medicine by the opportunity to make a difference in women’s health. i really enjoy working with women and educating people about their own health. i liked the idea of delivering babies and being a part of the happiest hopsital ward. but like efex, the more i learn about the reality of a career in ob/gyn, the less i think i will end up in one. between malpractice and the pretty family-unfriendly lifestyle, it’s looking worse and worse. which is really a shame, since i think many women like myself (an probably some men too) are drawn to this specialty and would be great at it.

    howard dean has also proposed some good ideas for malpractice reform based on the system in maine. a committee of expert physicians reviews any claim at the beginning of the case and determines whether or not it merrits a trial. from what i understand, this system has worked well in reducing the amount of frivilous malpractice litigation in maine.

    EM momEM mom

    The problem is OB/gyn is by no means the only specialty this is happening to-it is just the one mentioned in the article (and probably has the highest rates of frivolous lawsuits). But at least where I am (Texas-a crisis state for sure!) everyone who sees the patient gets sued…ER who sees them initially in the ED, family practice, internal medicine, any consultant, etc…doesn’t even matter if there was ANY wrongdoing-if the name is in the chart they get sued 😮 (this has happened to more than a few residents here). This is a huge issue for EVERY specialty not just OB/gyn! And yes…I will be steaming mad if when I am ready to have my second child I can’t find an OB/gyn to do my C-section because they have all quit due to outrageous malpractice premiums 😡 !


    One of my favorite soap box issues!! But here I will (try to) be brief.

    I am a radiologist. Depending on the state we are the “most sued” or a close second to the OB/GYNs. Among my colleauges it is not a question of “if” you get sued but “when.” I know several good doctors who have been plagued by nusiance suits and some sub par docs who have never been sued. What’s the logic in that?

    I think at the heart of the problem is the misconception by the public that if the outcome is poor, then somebody did something wrong. I think many people cannot fully grasp the idea that doctors and other medical professionals can do everything right and the outcome can still be bad. People just die. Complications happen.

    And then there are the lawyers… I have no polite language for this one!!! 😡 😡 😡


    To Whom It May Concern:
    Are you a woman who has received bad medical care or felt wronged by your doctor, but don’t know what to do because you are just not sure? As many know, medicine is fraught with all sorts of potential pitfalls. Some are completely unavoidable but others are wholly inexcusable. The latter is a problem that is as pervasive in medicine as anything else. The dilemma is being able to discern when a medical complication or bad outcome is merely a component of statistical error or the result of negligence on part of the treating individual. Once a negligent act is committed, it is then up to those affected to determine if it is indeed so and moreover, provable.

    The one specialty in medicine that contains some of the most egregious cases of malpractice is the one I have the most familiarity with – that being Ob/Gyn. It seems that pretty much everyone knows of someone (or maybe even themselves) who has suffered a loss or injury concerning women’s health. Therefore, having an outlet to know if the care you received was legit or not is an invaluable asset to any patient.

    At Essential Ob/Gyn Forensic Services, the objective is to simply evaluate any case in the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology and determine if there was any indication of provable negligence. With over twenty years experience in the field, it takes a careful eye to be able to pick up on the subtleties of malpractice and the many ways it is covered up in the record.

    This service is not intended to be anything but a legitimate and affordable option for those who believe that they have been wronged by bad Ob/Gyn care. If you are not certain if you have been mistreated surgically or medically or the outcome of your pregnancy wasn’t what you felt was right, then let Essential Forensics evaluate your case as a cost-effective preliminary step before deciding to retain an attorney.

    The benefit of having a report pointing out the areas of concern is invaluable when moving forward in any sort of potential litigation. Essential Forensics’ services are also available to the individual at a fraction of what is charged to attorneys. So, if you or someone you know has had a questionable experience or outcome from their Ob/Gyn care, then consider finding out for sure. -JRCMD

    Essential Ob/Gyn Forensic Services – “Holding no bias but that of Justice.”

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