September 19, 2006

Opinion: Medical Errors Hidden in PA

Images2_2 We've enjoyed the lively banter taking place in the Philadelphia Daily News, where the letters to the editor are getting heated.

It all started when a counter-punch was thrown after a doc talked of rising med-mal insurance rates—we covered it here. Now the head of the Pennsylvania trial Lawyers Association weighs in. Excerpt:

"Nationally, we know that as many as 98,000 people die annually because of a preventable medical error. But in Pennsylvania, these errors remain hidden from patients and the public.

But taking away the rights of someone who has been hurt by malpractice is the wrong answer to a serious problem. The best way to stop malpractice suits is to prevent malpractice." Read the rant here.

Images3 Any one think there is a third way between these sparring—and well-educated—factions?

Docs and lawyers: We demand you hash this sh$# out once and for all over some cheese steaks. Gino will moderate

September 13, 2006

Opinion: Paying Off Rick Santorum

Images1_2 A recent letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News that MENTIONS Sen. Rick Santorum R-PA (smiling at left):

The malpractice debate

I DON'T DOUBT that Dr. Margaret Hessen has rising insurance costs (op-ed, "Doc's view of malpractice debate," Sept. 8).

We all are feeling that burden. But I hold no sympathy for the good doctor who puts her misguided trust into the hands of Republican politicians and price-gouging insurance companies.

The Congressional Budget Office found that malpractice costs account for a very small fraction of total health care spending and that even radical reform would have a relatively small effect on total health-plan premiums. This is a non-partisan agency under the GOP-led Bush administration that came to this conclusion. (You can find the information here.)

Why does Dr. Hessen blame Americans for her insurance premiums instead of personal responsibility? Because it's easier to attack Americans than it is to fight the insurance-industry lobby.

The industry spends billions of dollars a year :  to pass laws that hurt Americans. What we need are new politicians, publicly financed elections and national health care. And doctors who accept personal responsibility for their actions.

Can we get a witness, er, comment?

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  • 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.

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What makes you sick?

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    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    • Faced a frivolous lawsuit?

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    • 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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