Does Limiting Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Amounts Increase Malpractice?

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Have You Ever Thought About It?

Unless you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice and considered an attorney to file a lawsuit, the answer is probably no.

The truth be known we don't want to think about being disabled, having a permanent injury or someone dying due to the result of a doctor or health care professional. They're the ones that are supposed to keep us from getting sick, make us feel better when we are, and give us prescriptions to keep us healthy right?

If that's the case then how is it possible that Hearst newspapers concluded in 2009 that approximately 200,000 people died as a result of medical errors or health care related infections. Two hundred thousand, that's about half of tobacco related deaths at about 435,000.

Now think about that for a minute as much as we know about smoking, and ways to prevent cancer, what do we know or research when it comes to finding a doctor or medical facility. Usually the research is limited sadly to these facts; 1) If it's a hospital-which one is closest or where the doctor practices 2) The doctor is usually picked by a referral from another doctor, a Google search , the insurance company or maybe even the yellow pages 3) nurses are not a choice they are provided by the facility or doctor. That many deaths and that's how we pick them. So what do we do? I'm almost afraid to tell you.



We Make It Easier and Less Painful For Them To Make Mistakes

That's it, in the state of Florida in 2008 apparently we voted to limit medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000. Are you kidding me? (Guilty as charged because I didn't vote on it). Yep, if the doctor should happen to amputate the wrong leg, give you to much medication, etc. $250,000 Can you imagine being in a wheelchair as the result of a health care practitioner and that's what you get. Now I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule if you find an incredible attorney who is willing to work for peanuts to prove a point, but that is not the usual. Do you have any idea what it cost to even make a case against a doctor or hospital? Between getting experts to look at the case, testify if it should go to court, investigators, etc, etc. That's why trying to get a good malpractice attorney in Florida who is willing to take the case is hard. It's not their fault they have to support their families just like we do.

What else have we done? Well lets limit who can file a claim if the victim should happen to pass away. I found this out after my father was taken from me in 2002 In the state of Florida unless you are a surviving spouse or a child under the age of 25 you cannot, (again some special circumstances) file a claim for medical malpractice or wrongful death. I won't tell you the story but you can go to Click here and read about it if you want more info, (when your done here).You will be amazed.

In some states (I'm not an attorney or legal professional) they don't even have to have medical malpractice insurance to practice. So if they do get a judgment against them most just file bankruptcy and life goes on as usual.




Goverment Agencies Regulating Health Care Professionals

Doesn't the state regulate health care practitioners such as the Agency for Health Care Administration/ACHA, or the Dept. of Health? Yes, in most states, as in Florida there are websites that will allow you to verify a license, see disciplinary actions filed against the practitioner, along with public complaints and profiles.

Will this help you? In most cases yes, however the doctor in the article about my father was cited with disciplinary actions, that was also done as a public complaint. A few days ago I looked up his profile to see if he had any others, and much to my amazement the website showed ZERO complaints. In his profile it states ZERO, yet when I called the Florida Dept of Health to see why, she looked it up and informed me he had two. That's right (2) one in 2003 and another in 2010. When I asked why it wasn't on the website she transferred me to the compliance dept. where I had to guess what, leave a message. I haven't heard back from them and honestly don't expect to.

Here is another interesting fact to put in your files. Doctors and resident doctors are allowed to basically work around the clock. They can work for 30 hours or better straight, no breaks or sleep required. A truck driver (last time I checked) cannot drive over 10 hours on any given day and is not supposed to work more than 15. Alright do they both have the possibilities of injuring or taking our lives? Of course, but where do you think they deal with it more as a doctor or truck driver? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out yet the DOT (Dept of Transportation) regulates drivers more than the DOH (Dept of Health) regulates doctors. It's just food for thought

Are there restrictions on personal injury lawsuits against truck drivers? Not that I am aware of and if there is I'm almost certain it is a lot more than $250,000.


Before You Make A Choice

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So Do Your Homework

Listen I'm not saying that all doctors and facilities are bad or make mistakes  There are numerous facilities that I rave about, just do your homework. Research the facility or doctor and if your uncomfortable with them pick another one. It doesn't matter whether it's a doctor or a lawyer you need to be comfortable and be able to express your concerns.

It's your life, or a loved one were talking about here. So PLEASE take the time to make the call or get online, and find out who is going to be responsible for seeing it is a long and healthy one.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death, etc. and looking into hiring an attorney/lawyer again do your homework. I don't care if your in New York or Florida remember bigger is not always better. There are some phenomenal lawyers out there with small practices and also some at large firms, but when it comes to hiring a lawyer you don't want to be treated like a number, (well I don't anyway)

My personal opinion hiring an attorney through a referral service on tv (usually will send you to who pays the most) who has maybe never even met the attorney representing you other than to play golf, is absurd. Take the time to find out what they are about and if you need to talk to them are they going to be available. Waiting days, weeks, or months to hear back from a lawyer about your case when your hurting is not a pleasant experience. I've actually terminated an attorney and ended up a lot better off.

So make it an incredible day and do your homework

See Ya Soon

PS I want to say a special thanks to Doug who helped me with my fathers case and allowed me to confront the ones responsible. Thanks again and I will never be able to repay you for all your help

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So do the limits increase or decrease malpractice? Or do they have no affect at all? Let me know what you think. 4 comments

Charlu profile image

Charlu 5 years ago from Florida Author

Cover ups are done on so many levels that I don't know if there is a good place to even start. EX: I sent in complaints on 5 doctors and 1 nurse practitioner which the DOH received on the first of Feb. Up until today they have been telling me that they do not have them. Now they have 1, yet they were all in the same envelope, along with all the copies of charts, cd of diagnostics and documentation.

I think that if more people just got online and wrote about the substandard care they have been given with proof then maybe we would get somewhere.

Now the investigator, (not a health care professional or knowledge of the industry) has to send it to a consultant if he thinks there is a legal cause.

Excuse me but how would one know that if they do not have knowledge of the health care industries or professions. It's the Quality Assurance Dept of The Dept of Health for Health Care Practitioners. Shouldn't someone be making that call that has knowledge in that area or send it to the consultant to begin with.

AAAAAAAAAAAhhhhh Another reason to go to the doctor it's called ulcers. (just kidding)

Thank you for your comment and FYI I have submitted a story for a major television news special but I am not with the media. I'll let you know what happens


jordan Miller profile image

jordan Miller 5 years ago

There is something else that is recently having an impact on the way doctors practice.

Everyday, thousands of people are signing HIPAA privacy documents at their doctors offices. The document buries within it the right for the patients medical records to be put in a national database. That is the real reason why HIPAA was established. Making people think that the purpose is for their privacy is an easy way to get everyone to sign without push back. The nationalization of electronic medical records can be very helpful but doctors are using it in a way that people would not have anticipated.

I work in the medical field and wish to remain anonymous but Doctors are including signals to other doctors within a patients electronic medical record if there is potential for malpractice. The patient may have a serious health issue but any doctor that they see in the future will see the flag and cover up for the other doctors.

Since you work in the media, I am hoping that you might try to get the word out to the public so they are aware of this People do not know that their signatures have taken away the possibility of ever getting a valid second opinion again..


Charlu profile image

Charlu 6 years ago from Florida Author

No easy answer that's a definite. I heard back from them and just posted another article/hub/tribute. I was pretty shocked at their answers. The attorneys file claims and the government won't regulate the practice enough Some of the things that happen though are just unbelievable.

Thank you I tried to post a comment earlier and it didn't go through??


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

You have a valid point as do others on both sides of the fence. We cannot sue the government for their care and my brother was badly hurt by a resident doing surgery at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio years ago. After the common bile duct and pancreatic duct were "accidentally severed" the head doctor at that point came back in to do the repairs. I've actually written more about it in a hub.

Doctors in Texas in private practice are required to carry malpractice insurance. I was unaware that this was not a country-wide requirement...save for those working for government institutions.

It is a shame that there are so many frivilous lawsuits which drag down the entire system.

Some doctors no longer choose to go into the fields of maternal and baby care because if ANYTHING goes wrong with a pregnancy they are fearful of lawsuits. Just by law of averages, not every pregnancy results in a normal birth and healthy baby. Nothing to do with the doctors in most cases...but the first thing on many people's minds is to sue.

So it is a double edged sword. If frivilous lawsuits could be taken off the table and would never happen...then limiting the amounts awarded for gross negligence would make no sense. Unfortunately in trying to eliminate all the ridiculous lawsuits it is an across the board ruling that they have made in Florida (from what you say.)

No easy answers, I'm afraid.

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