January 02, 2007

It Starts With Boob Jobs and Strippers

Boob Dr. Michael Gleeson is miffed that his lawyer got $600K when he sued the cops and won $2 million.

While the doc/lawyer friction is interesting. The back story to how it got to this point is fantastic.   

In 1999,  Dr. Gleeson approached the owner of the Grandview Gentlemen's Club.

"How about I enhance your employees' breasts," he said. Or at least something to that effect.

"Brilliant," the proprietor probably replied. And they had a deal.

Gleeson got to work, enlarging the breasts by inserting an implant through a tunnel from the belly button to the pocket beneath the breasts.

But then, let's call her Cheyenne West, didn't like her new look. So she called the cops.

The police arrested Dr. Gleeson on 400, YES 400, separate charges linked to his services.

But the charges were eventually tossed and Dr. Gleeson sued the cops and some local governments for the mess. And he won.

Now, Dr. Gleeson says his lawyer shouldn't have gotten a 30% cut and he's asking a federal judge to slice it.

We love this story. Read [Pocono Record]

December 18, 2006

Docs Flee, Lawyers Slacking, and a Lost Kidney

Eli Lily hid side-effects info, kept pushing schizo drug Read [Wilmington Star News]

News_22 Adios cowboys! A third of Wyoming docs plan to flee Read [Casper Star Tribune]

VA and health care behemoth Kaiser pushing docs to web for diagnosis info, options Read [Kansas City Star]

Bad Apples: North Dakota rebuking record number of state's lawyers Read [Bismark Tribune]

Patient gets screwed out of friend's kidney, dies, and CAN'T sue Read [New York Sun]

December 05, 2006

Lawyer Chafes At Complaining Clients

Flea_2 Our old friend Dr. Flea, who has contributed some witty stuff here and here, has an update of being deposed in a med-mal suit: "This was 'a good deposition' for me. The mother essentially admitted that her child is not injured. How her lawyer permitted her to do so is curious to say the least, but I suppose I shouldn't care."

Not much else of note, but a comment on Flea's blog caused us to sit up straight. The writer, allegedly a lawyer, chimed in on his lawsuit-happy clients:

"I haven't practised plaintiff personal injury law since January when I decided to take a break ....  I was sitting through appointment after appointment where my clients would tell me how their pissy little soft tissue neck/back injury had ruined their life when my neck/back is continuously sore from having to carry my son around and fight his tone. I actually listened to one woman in her mid 40's go on for more than an hour about how her life was over because she could no longer wear halternecks. For god sakes woman, maybe God is trying to tell you that you shouldn't be wearing them anymore."

Not exactly the clear command of English we would hope for in a lawyer. And aren't they paying his bills? Or maybe he has found clarity amongst the madness.

Have something to say? Calling all fed up regular folks, doctors, lawyers, nurses — Write us, here.

October 06, 2006

Derma-Goon, Doc Turned Lawyer, and $217 Million Verdict

Drrosin_1 Dr. Skin Cancer's Demise
Patients say doc's cancer ops left them disfigured. Turns out he was drunk on ripping off Medicare for million$ and the geezers were his pawns. Now he's in the joint. BRAVO! Read [Herald Tribune]

Gold Diggin' Law Firm?
Deposition: West Va. Doc Rick Houdersheldt said he was approached by three or four patients in 2004 who complained they had been solicited by the Charleston law firm of Curry and Tolliver to file suits against King and Putnam General Hospital. One of the patients allegedly told Houdersheldt that he had been offered $10,000 to become a plaintiff against King and Putnam General. Classy. 

Jacktolliver_1 Turns out the aforementioned Tolliver is a former emergency medicine doc who is now a lawyer doing med mal suits. Interesting. We'll try to get a post from him. Read [The Record]

Tampa Man Gets $217  million Med Mal Verdict
Laywers for the patient—
who was left brain-damaged and disabled after hospital emergency room doctors misdiagnosed stroke symptoms—says they tried to settle with the doctors' insurance company, but were rejected. Nice chess move! Read [Houston Chronicle]

Where do we begin on this one?

September 11, 2006

Robin Williams Special: Patch Adams and Pet Lawyers

Patchadams 'Patch' Adams Recalls Practicing Sans Med-Mal Insurance Read [Centre Daily Times]

Blue Cross and Friends Say 'No Mas' to Covering Bariatric Operation for Biggies
Read [Delaware State News]

Veterinarians' New Fear: 'Suit Happy Pet Lawyers Read [The Providence Journal]

In 2004 the American Veterinary Medical Association formed a task force on animal law last year and came out squarely against redefining the legal status of pets. They're on top of the issue and its paws-itively nuts! Read

News Anchor Who Sued For Botched Op Nets $1.4 million Watch [KOIN-TV] ~Settlement Is First Since Med-Mal Caps Overturned in Oregon

August 29, 2006

Lawsuits and Rx Drugs: Living in Perfect Harmony

Rx Drug makers faced the most lawsuits of any industry last year. We're not pointing fingers, but the numbers are just nuts.

"Since 2000, more than 65,000 product liability lawsuits have been filed against prescription drugmakers" The big four targeted in the last few years: hormone-replacement drug Prempro, birth-control patch Ortho Evra, anti-psychotic Seroquel and anti-seizure drug Neurontin.

Plaintiffs claim drugmakers failed to disclose the drugs' risks and/or failed to properly test them.

A law professor offered his two-cents on the situation: "The lawyers have created almost an assembly-line approach to use ... against an industry that's in tobacco-land in terms of how much people hate it." Ouch. Read [USA Today]

August 23, 2006

Bush, Frustrated Docs, and a Crusader

Storybushthursday Pres. Bush Takes a Break From The Middle East: "These trial lawyers need to back off."  Read [Washington Post]

Retired Doc Volunteering At Clinic: Priceless. Getting Malpractice Insurance: $10,000. Read [Insurance Journal]

Woman Whose Husband Died During Sinus Surgery Helps Others Navigate Med-Mal Legal World Read [OC Register]

A Californian Asks: "Do any medical malpractice attorneys advance costs, or split them with the client? Also, why are so many experts needed?"
For the answer, click here [The Daily Breeze]

August 01, 2006

Political Mud, Cheap Lawyers, and Lost Sponges

News_12 Ah, the politcal season is almost upon us: GOP claims Michigan Dem senator supports ambulance chasers. Read [CNS NEWS]

Pay Up Counsel: A panel of appellate judges in Jersey rebuffed attorneys' efforts to avoid paying a state-mandated $75 annual fee to help doctors pay for malpractice insurance. Read [Asbury Park Press]

No sponge left behind: A surgical staff's fear of forgetting an item in a patient may be over as a new scan could eliminate such gaffes. Read [LA Times]


July 28, 2006

'Health courts' cost, it's just another bureaucracy'

Shark Here's the second part in our piece from resident-provoceteur, Matt. Yesterday he told us why he believes in the American jury system and not health courts. He said he's used to being called a shark, so we obliged with the photo at right.

Back to health courts' cost, it's just another bureaucracy, and we've just added more state employees for a function that no one is able to show our current judges are doing a consistently poor job of handling.  Even the claim that they are necessary to establish standards of care is false - there is literally nothing stopping physicians from doing that now.  They can go to their insurer.

I've often seen Kevin's claim that 40% of claims are unfounded, according to Studdert.  Well of course that's true - they are CLAIMS.  The key is how does the system do when sorting out claims, and on that point, the current system does very well.

As to the counter, from reading in the medical blogosphere, I think that many physicians simply don't like adversarial settings.  That's true of most of us, even most lawyers, but I think physicians in particular are acutely sensitive to it.  Maybe it's the fact that they (like preachers) aren't used to being questioned and very much enjoy being captain of the ship.  I know many don't feel that way, but in general polls show the public very much respects and admires them, and juries certainly defer to them.  But it's the process of reaching the truth in our justice system that they don't like.

Continue reading "'Health courts' cost, it's just another bureaucracy'" »

July 18, 2006

Flea Gets Deposed

Flea_1_5Our old friend Dr. Flea is facing some heat. He has written for us about another experience getting sued and "driving a yellow bus" in the Northeast. Now he gives us the lowdown on going to see his lawyer. Thanks, Flea.

Flea was deposed today.

Today's events will require more than one post, as there are many facets to the story worthy of mention. Here's the first story:

I arrived at my attorney's office one hour early. This was not my intent. I left extra time because of fear of being late. There had been an horrific accident in downtown Boston yesterday morning and we were promised that traffic would be horrendous all day.

I tried to kill time by walking around Government Center. I recalled a radio interview I once heard with Livingston Taylor, on the subject of stage-fright and performance-preparation. Taylor said he does two things before he performs on stage: First he arrives at the performance space early (okay, I had done that); Second, he thanks God for the privelege of being where he was, about to perform. I took Taylor's advice and gave thanks.

When the deposition was over and I was back in my car, I called my office and spoke to my staff. I had not arranged for coverage during my deposition. The thought had simply never occurred to me that I may be away from the office for so long that I might be needed in the morning. The culprit was most likely denial. I didn't want to think about the deposition at all, so I didn't arrange for back-up.

My nurse reported that there had been very few calls, and none that required my attention. I was enormously relieved. I thanked her and my secretary for being there to field calls in my absence. Then my nurse remarked "God was watching out for you today".

I choked up and became afraid I would start crying on the phone to my nurse. I had forgotten about my prayer this morning.

Now, I know Hashem has better things to do than listen to the prayers of a flea. But in case You really were listening, thanks.

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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.

Calling for change

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