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November 30, 2005

I didn't learn this in med school. And he didn't pick that up learning the law. Click to enlarge Cartoon4

November 29, 2005

Dr. Whistleblower steps into the ring

Whistleblow_1There’s been chatter in the medical world that a MD who questions a colleague’s practices or notes errors in the operating room has asked for a career death wish, so to speak. Dennis McIntosh, a former anesthesiologist at San Joaquin General Hospital, alleges that because he pointed out the faults of the hospital anesthesiology department while he was employed there in 2004, several doctors attacked his character and medical abilities and also prevented him from getting other medical jobs. The hospital’s evaluation from the time listed McIntosh as "not a competent anesthesiologist and… an inferior doctor." McIntosh says it’s a smear job and he's seeking $25K in damages. It's doctor vs. doctors, tonight at 11.  Read [Lodi News-Sentinel]

November 28, 2005

Doug Wojcieszak: Sorry Works!

Dougwojceszak_1"As I contemplated what to write, I thought about what makes doctors really sick when it comes to medical liability. What gets docs upset is not so much the fear of lawsuits, but, as one person at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons meeting put it to me, having political goal posts moved back and forth.

Wisconsin is a prime example of this. Lawsuit caps were in place for 10 years only to recently be wiped off the books. It’s the same in many other states, whether its politicians promising to pass caps or insurance companies saying rates won’t be lowered until caps are held as constitutional. Docs are sick and tired of the political games.

What if you could lower lawsuits and litigation costs without any politics?  Does it sound too good to be true?  It’s not…the answer is called Sorry Works!

I lost my oldest brother to medical errors and I have provided PR for both sides in the medical malpractice battle: the tort reformers and the trial bar. I have personally and professionally experienced the medical malpractice battle from every angle possible, and I believe Sorry Works! is a true middle ground solution that addresses the root causes of the problem—anger and cover-ups—better than any other solution currently being offered."

Continue reading "Doug Wojcieszak: Sorry Works!" »

November 23, 2005

Take two of these and sue me in the morning

This might be a first. After a rocky emergency room experience, William Carvelot took his ER doctor’s advice, called a lawyer and is now suing Belleville Memorial Hospital. And the frank doc, too. Back in 2003, Carvelot arrived at the ER with chest pain and difficulty breathing. He went into ventricular fibrillation and the staff tried to resuscitate him with CPR and defibrillation. No dice: the machine didn’t work. Eventually, he was revived and a bypass was performed. But since the surgery, he has suffered memory loss and various health problems that he attributes partly to the broken defibrillator. He’s filed a lawsuit and claims that his family was told after surgery by the ER doc that the machine was busted and he was without oxygen for a period of time and he should see an attorney. Now that’s fessing up. But we wonder if Carvelot and the hospital were able to sit down before he brought a lawsuit, if indeed the doctor took responsibility. If not, why not?  Read [The Madison Record]

November 22, 2005

Subway legal business

Vandals were kind enough to not completely obscure this ad found in a New York City subway station. The info about the firm's "Top Medical Malpractice Award in the U.S.A." still reads clearly. But as enticing as the "Boxin' Irishman" logo is, we're not choosing our legal representation while waiting for the F train.

November 21, 2005

Well, uh, my wife's malpractice case was different

Santor1Good ol' Rick Santorum, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, seems to have forgotten about his wife when he called for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards or awards for pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits. In 1999 his wife claimed that a botched spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to serious back issues. She sued for $500K and was awarded $350K. When asked about his walking versus his talking, Santorum replied, "Of course I'm going to support my wife in her endeavors. That doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything that she does." When in doubt, blame it on the missus. We're glad though that his opinions on issues can evolve. Read [ABC News]

The Mailbag

Speak_1Emails have been coming in from across the country since we launched in early November. As hoped, the posts have stirred warm thanks, colorful dismissals and bewilderment. Here are a few. Keep it coming. Dialogue initiates change.

"A national and state level board should monitor those lawyers issuing lawsuits against the medical profession. Those lawyers  that are deemed by their peers as issuing frivolous lawsuits should be banned from practice, pay fines, and/or be put in jail. The high cost of medical care, misuse of taxpayer dollars, and the undue strain placed both on the patient and physician to go through a long and tedious trial should all be reasons that these lawyers who seek financial compensation through frivolous lawsuits should be monitored closely, judged, and held responsible by their peers." 
M. Reddy, MD Houston, Texas

Read more after the jump. We invite you to contact the editor or comment on our posts.

Continue reading "The Mailbag" »

November 18, 2005

Malpractice insurance premiums and OB/GYNs


November 17, 2005

Take five, lobbyists

Roundtable_3 "After spending $15 million in one of the nastiest campaigns in recent memory, both doctors and lawyers failed to peddle their narrow self-interests to the voters.” So says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board. But med liability problems remain and the editorial demands a next step: the Washington Legislature needs to round up objective expertise in economics, public health, nursing, social services, non-profits and business to reform not only tort law but the malpractice insurance industry and medical disciplinary practices. Finalement! Read

November 16, 2005

Malpractice went unchecked and crossed the Pacific

Patel1Dr. Jayant M. Patel made headlines earlier this year when an inquiry linked 87 patient deaths at a  hospital in Queensland, Australia to his care. But these weren’t the first murky waters for Dr. Patel. Take a trip back to Oregon where he practiced during the 1980s and 90s and had eight malpractice or wrongful death lawsuits brought against him. Four patients died. Side note: he garnered the "Distinguished Physician of the Year" from fellow doctors at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. But back to the story. The latest disturbing fact: his troubles went undetected by the Oregon's physicians oversight system.  The safety net that required malpractice insurers to report any claims they received. Medical experts would sift through the claims and then investigate if they suspected negligence or detected a pattern of incompetence. But the two state agencies responsible for collecting the reports and enforcing the law paid scant attention to compliance during the 1990s. When they got their act together, the state’s major insurers and health systems dragged their feet to comply. Ugh! Read [The Oregonian]

About TMMS

  • ThisMakesMeSick answers renowned medical inventor Dr. Robert Fischell's wish to spread awareness (and outrage!) about the medical liability crisis that's ruining our healthcare system.

    Learn more...

What makes you sick?

  • We want to hear your thoughts and personal stories.

    Have you...

    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    • Faced a frivolous lawsuit?

    • Dealt with a doctor or a hospital who wouldn't take responsiblity for their actions?

    • Practiced defensive medicine?

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You don't say...

  • "This election destroyed a popular Karl Rove myth. The truth is that trial attorneys are winning, attacks on trial attorneys are backfiring and opponents of the civil justice system are losing."

    The CEO of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America said.

  • "We have discovered that virtually all patients are willing to sign a contract in which they agree not to sue their doctors on frivolous grounds."

    Jeffrey Segal, M.D, a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., said.

  • "Low-risk obstetrics has been done here for 60 years, but not anymore."

    Carl Hanson, chief operating officer of the county-run Minidoka Memorial Hospital in southern Idaho hospital's, explained as they get out of the baby business. Read

  • "I have children, and I don't know where they're at."

    Rosalinda Elison, a former patient at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s fertility clinic, said after learning that that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman who then gave birth to twins.

    Read more You Don't Say, here.

Crisis by numbers:

  • $4.6 million

    New York state grants available to expand the use of electronic medical records. Such initiatives have been hailed nationally as a way to cut medication errors, save money and improve patient safety. LINK

  • $700,000

    Amount raised by Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform to oppose malpractice limits in Arizona. LINK

  • $450,000

    Amount the Arizona Medical Association says Arizonans for Access to Health Care has raised to decide whether to push for montetary limits on lawsuits. LINK

    Read more CRISIS BY NUMBERS, here.

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