Guess what I am? Here’s a hint. I’m incompetent. I commit a lot of medical malpractice. Once, I lost my temper in the middle of a surgical procedure and stormed out of the room, leaving a bleeding patient on the table. A bunch of other times, I operated on people’s brains and they died or were seriously hurt. And then I make sure to skip town, ending up where no one holds me accountable.
So what am I?
I’m a doctor who practices in Texas, ‘er Sweden, I mean Texas, I mean Sweden, Texas, Sweden, Ugh … same difference!
The fabulous group Texas Watch has been closely following the case(s) of Dr. Stefan Konasiewicz, Texas brain surgeon.
In Dr. Konasiewicz’s former state, Minnesota, he was “one of five neurosurgeons in Minnesota disciplined by the [Minnesota Board of Medical Practice] and only the second neurosurgeon to be disciplined in Minnesota as a result of charges prompted by allegations of harming patients. … Citing four cases, including one in which a patient died, Konasiewicz was also disciplined by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for ‘unprofessional and unethical conduct.’” Things were so bad that Wisconsin also restricted his license. But not Texas!
Dr. Konasiewicz made a bee line for that state, where in 2008 he joined the South Texas Brain and Spine Institute in Corpus Christi, which “took out an ad in the county medical society’s newsletter welcoming Konasiewicz.” Yet there was much more in Dr. Konasiewicz’s welcome wagon.
Apparently, Texas was so happy to have him operate on the brains of Texans that unlike Minnesota, which “ordered him to have some of his surgeries supervised by another neurosurgeon to continue to practice in the state … the Texas Medical Board has taken no such action against him, meaning his license is not restricted and he does not need to have his work supervised.”
And there’s more. While a bunch of Minnesota families sued Dr. Konasiewicz and his hospital for malpractice, settling six lawsuits for at least $3.2 million,
[I]in Texas, filing malpractice suits is rare. A study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that since 2003, the year major tort reform laws were approved by voters and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, malpractice suits dropped 80 percent.
“It has become virtually impossible for most patients harmed by dangerous doctors to access the legal process and hold the physicians accountable,” said N. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a citizen advocacy organization. “Without a doubt, patients who are being harmed have little, if any, legal recourse at all.”
So what’s Sweden have to do with this? Well, turns out that in Sweden, like Texas, lawsuits for malpractice are also practically non-existent. Sweden has a so-called “no-fault” system because – unlike Texas - the country already takes care of their sick and injured. (Sweden’s general welfare pays for 80% of a victim’s sick leave and the healthcare system takes care of all medical expenses, so the Swedish “no-fault” system is considered “on top of” the general welfare system, not in place of it.) But at the same time, like all places where accountability (via litigation) is out the window, the country does little to hold bad doctors responsible and patient safety is badly suffering for it. As the Center for Justice & Democracy wrote in a recent study,
In 2007, Dr. Johanne Krogh, began practicing at Sweden’s Hudiksvall Hospital but before she came there, she was actually notorious in Norway for medical malpractice incidents. One incident in Norway involved Dr. Krogh losing her temper in the middle of a surgical procedure and storming out of the room, leaving a bleeding patient on the table. Her behavior was so egregious that the Norwegian patient insurance system paid 29 claims relating to her work, and received more than a dozen more. While Norway removed her orthopedic and surgical licenses after the first 20 payouts, nothing stopped her from moving to Sweden where she continued to practice as of 2010.
Texas and Sweden, the socialist paradise - virtual twins! Who knew?
By the way, Texas Watch has been closely following the horrendous record of their Governor Rick Perry, who created this tragic situation in Texas. Here’s their most recent report, which we give you with the proviso that ThePopTort takes absolutely no position on any candidate or race for office. We’re only dumping on the Governor cause of what he did to Texas. No gratuitous bashing or uncalled for mocking here. Ok maybe a little, but c’mon, this video is too funny.