About ThisMakesMeSick

In 2005, Dr. Robert Fischell was awarded a TED prize. TED—an annual event where America's leading thinkers and doers gather for inspiration—awards three TED Prizes each year to individuals who have shown that they can, in some way, positively impact life on this planet. Dr. Fischell was granted three wishes, $100,000 and the TED Community's resources to help leverage his efforts.

One of Dr. Fischell's three wishes was to do something about America's medical liability crisis. The lines are blurred and confusion reigns on all sides of the issue.

• In states across the country, ob-gyns and other specialists are closing up shop as they face skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates.

• Frivolous malpractice lawsuits clog the nation's court system while legitimate malpractice cases flounder.

• Patients are suffering as health care costs rise and care options decrease.

• Doctors, fearful of lawsuits, prescribe more tests and procedures than are necessary.

A Brain Trust of innovative thinkers from the TED Community was formed to rethink America's approach to medical liability. Dr. Fischell and this group wanted to find real solutions. One of the best answers they found was Common Good, a national nonprofit coalition championing the creation of special health courts. Bi-partisan momentum is building to establish an independent system of health courts, which would address medical malpractice claims. For more information, please visit www.cgood.org.

ThisMakesMeSick is Dr. Fischell's and TED's strongest effort to bring awareness to the medical liability crisis and lead people to Common Good and other groups that are working to save America's healthcare system.


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You don't say...

  • “Numerous conscientious employees... have been fired for reporting unsafe or illegal activities."
    Pennsylvania State Rep. Phyllis Mundy said as she offered up new legislation that would protect health-care whistleblowers.
  • "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac.”
    Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ready to work at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport after Hurricane Katrina until a FEMA official told him to leave, because he wasn’t registered with the agency and worries that FEMA might get sued.
  • "For us it was the difference between staying in practice and going out of business."
    Dr. Sam Akman of OB/GYN Specialists of Maryland explaining why the group left their longtime hospital and joined a Catholic health center. The malpractice insurance was cheaper. Where will their old patients go for treatment?
  • "Physicians are saying, 'I'll stop taking trauma calls."'
    Tom Curry, CEO of the Washington State Medical Association, explaining doctors' liability fears.

Crisis by numbers:

  • 16%
    That's how much health care spending will consume nearly of America’s GDP this year! That’s $6,400 for every American—nearly twice the $3,400 spent in 1993. Two reasons: Rising malpractice insurance rates and added tests and procedures prescribed to help insulate docs from lawsuits.
  • $275,000
    A general surgeon’s annual malpractice premium in Miami. Head up I-95 to north Georgia and the same coverage costs just $17,000.
  • 27.6
    Percentage of women who gave birth by cesarean section in 2003, an all-time high. The sharp increase comes, as hospitals frequently limit women from having a VBAC (vaginal birth after a C-section), because of liability concerns. Your body, hospital's choice it seems.
  • 79
    Percentage of docs in 2002 who say they order patients to have more tests done than necessary, because of malpractice lawsuit fears.
  • 43
    Percentage who seriously considered leaving medicine given the stresses of the current medical liability system.


  • About Us
    ThisMakesMeSick answers renowned medical inventor Dr. Robert Fischell's wish to address the medical-liability crisis that's ruining our healthcare system.

What makes you sick?

  • We want to hear your thoughts and personal stories.
    * Does a doctor you know fret over rising malpractice premiums?
    * Has a shuttered medical clinic forced a friend to drive an hour just to see a medical specialist?
    * Have you signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    Let us know about groups and individuals offering real solutions.

    And be sure to add your comments to our posts.

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