Thursday, September 09, 2004

Malpractice lawsuits

Listen, I feel sorry for John Ritter and his family, and it's a tragedy that he died so young. And I also don't know if this lawsuit has merit (that is, if the doctors really did screw up) or if it's just trying to get rid of some anger (anger of his family, not at the hospital or doctors, but simply at the fact that their dad/husband died so young; they want someone to be blamed for it when perhaps it's not anyone's fault). But it seems to me that doctors, unless they grossly misdiagnose something, like thinking a heart problem is a liver disorder, should be granted some degree of freedom. I mean, in what other profession can you send someone into financial ruin, via massive insurance premiums and a blemished record, for an honest human error? Now if you can demonstrate gross negligence on the part of doctors (a surgeon out drinking the night before a surgery or what have you), then I'm all for suing their pants off. But it's not like fixing a car, from what I understand; human bodies can respond in different ways to medicines and to surgeries, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to each problem. I wish Republicans would make more of an issue of this than they have so far. It seems to me like it really should be an easy, politically viable issue - these lawsuits are raising the price of health-care for other patients (doctors ordering unnecessary tests for fear of being sued, higher insurance premiums of the doctors are passed right along to the patients when doctors start raising fees) and running certain services, like ob-gyn and neurosurgery, right out of parts of the country.

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