Does Limiting Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Amounts Increase Malpractice?
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
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