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March 03, 2010


Michael Kirsch, M.D.

You are endorsing the status quo. Why is nearly every physician in the country hostile to the current medical liability system? Doesn't this unanimity suggest that the system needs to be 'tweaked' a bit? It should not be simple matter, as it is now, to turn innocent physicians into defendants. We need a system that is more surgical in selecting targets as opposed to the current 'buckshot' style. I agree that no system would be perfect, but nearly any system would be an improvement. See www.MDWhistleblower.blogspot.com under Legal Quality for some balance.

Joe Consumer

Here is the solution to this problem and it has to do with changing state statute of limitations laws, not limiting rights. Doctors are often (by legal necessity) pulled into lawsuits initially before the patient has a chance to learn everything that happened, because if they are not, the statute of limitations could run for those eventually found responsible. Many are eventually dismissed from the case, but why put them through this? This can be solved by changing state statute of limitations laws to “enterprise” notification. In other words, rather than requiring a patient to commence a lawsuit against every potential defendant, the law should toll the statute of limitations against all health care providers for injuries and damages arising from the events referred to in a complaint, save for one defendant who is initially brought in. If later it is discovered that one or more others are also responsible, they can be brought into the case at that time.


Tort reform is another red herring run up the flagpole by corporate shills. The total of malpractice awards, including court costs and everything, has been on a slow and steady decline for two decades. The total of malpractice premiums has been on a fast exponential growth curve. Sounds familiar.

My wife's doctor glibly admitted to my face that he had made a simple mistake that failed to catch her cancer early. Then a surgeon did exploratory surgery to find out how bad it was, as he could have found out with radiology. He sewed her up with dirty sutures, leaving me to swab a 6 inch long one inch deep scar that left her incapacitated for the last three miserable months she survived.

I was left to finish raising my children alone, but at least I had the malpractice payout to help. NOT! California had tort reform.

At least this happened in 1998, so the carrier I had switched to four years earlier had not yet adopted the practice of refusing to pay for her surgery and morphine. She had failed to disclose that she probably had the cancer already in 1994, and did not just get it after two years of being treated with Prilosec and iron supplements.

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