drbruce

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I was quite shocked today to read that after paying malpractice insurance premiums and other business costs, a leading neurosurgeon's take home pay was merely $64,000 per year. I'm from the UK and our SHOs make that much in their first three years of practicing.

Is this poor man the exception or has malpractice law suits and runaway juries reduced our top doctors to earning tuppance? What of the other specialities, how do they fare?
 

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drbruce said:
Is this poor man the exception or has malpractice law suits and runaway juries reduced our top doctors to earning tuppance? What of the other specialities, how do they fare?
The example you gave is pretty extreme. The hardest-hit specialties have been high-risk fields such as neurosurgery and obstetrics, especially in states that have unfavorable malpractice climates. Many of these physicians have chosen to relocate to states where the malpractice environment is not so harsh, leading to shortages of these specialists in high-risk states. Most of the country is not yet in "crisis mode"; however, malpractice insurance costs are a growing problem throughout the U.S., and there are no easy solutions.
 

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drbruce said:
I was quite shocked today to read that after paying malpractice insurance premiums and other business costs, a leading neurosurgeon's take home pay was merely $64,000 per year. I'm from the UK and our SHOs make that much in their first three years of practicing.

Is this poor man the exception or has malpractice law suits and runaway juries reduced our top doctors to earning tuppance? What of the other specialities, how do they fare?
Huge problem. I got out of OB in part precisely because of this. If anything goes wrong, anything, including a patients non-compliance with medical advice, and there's a bad outcome you are sued and screwed.

Sleazy lawyers like John Edwards will roll the dice on cases where there is no malpractice because they can. If it looks like they'll never be able to make a case, they offer an out of court settlement for costs knowing that the insurance company will look at it as a cheap way out, since the costs of defending at trial will far exceed the settlement offer.

Meanwhile neurosurgeons like your man get listed in the databank, the same insurance companies jack up his premiums because he's been sued and settled and make their money back.

This encourages the sleasy lawyers to take questionable cases on contingency. They know the med-mal insurance companies won't be interested in spending $$$$ for a trial defense and in the worst case, they'll be out a few hours of their time. Then they set it up and do it again. Someone on this board wrote that they knew an OBG who got sued 3 times as an intern! I am thanking the good Lord that the statute of limitations on every last delivery I did has long passed.

I do not think the problem is with runaway jurors or huge verdicts. Huge verdicts are reduced or set aside on appeal. Our justice system has, for the most part served us pretty well. I think juries are mostly looking to do the right thing. Plaintiffs who do have a legitimate beef should be heard and should have a chance to address legitimate problems. It may not be perfect, but its the best that's been made so far. I think it was your Shakespeare in Henry VIII, who wrote, "The first thing is kill all the lawyers." A noble sentiment, but without someone to oversee and enforce the laws, then the whole population is screwed.

The random lottery of lawyers looking to cash in on someones misfortune or bad outcome and blame it on someone is the issue. If legal malpractice could be defined as bringing improper tort cases for the damages they incur, such as increased premiums, the stigma of the suit, emotional harm and punitive damages, and plaintiff's lawyers could be sued for bringing improper cases, then I think the standard of legal practice would improve substantially.

The lawyers themselves claim that the fear of a med-mal suit improves the quality of doctoring. Well, let them take their own medicine. But until that happens, finding an honest plaintiff's lawyer is like finding an honest man in parliament. They exist, but they're hard to find. Especially when there is likely to be minimal to no economic incentive for them to turn away bad cases and the occasional lucky jackpot is enough to spur them ever forward.
 

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3dtp said:
Huge problem. I got out of OB in part precisely because of this. If anything goes wrong, anything, including a patients non-compliance with medical advice, and there's a bad outcome you are sued and screwed.

Sleazy lawyers like John Edwards will roll the dice on cases where there is no malpractice because they can. If it looks like they'll never be able to make a case, they offer an out of court settlement for costs knowing that the insurance company will look at it as a cheap way out, since the costs of defending at trial will far exceed the settlement offer.

Meanwhile neurosurgeons like your man get listed in the databank, the same insurance companies jack up his premiums because he's been sued and settled and make their money back.

This encourages the sleasy lawyers to take questionable cases on contingency. They know the med-mal insurance companies won't be interested in spending $$$$ for a trial defense and in the worst case, they'll be out a few hours of their time. Then they set it up and do it again. Someone on this board wrote that they knew an OBG who got sued 3 times as an intern! I am thanking the good Lord that the statute of limitations on every last delivery I did has long passed.

I do not think the problem is with runaway jurors or huge verdicts. Huge verdicts are reduced or set aside on appeal. Our justice system has, for the most part served us pretty well. I think juries are mostly looking to do the right thing. Plaintiffs who do have a legitimate beef should be heard and should have a chance to address legitimate problems. It may not be perfect, but its the best that's been made so far. I think it was your Shakespeare in Henry VIII, who wrote, "The first thing is kill all the lawyers." A noble sentiment, but without someone to oversee and enforce the laws, then the whole population is screwed.

The random lottery of lawyers looking to cash in on someones misfortune or bad outcome and blame it on someone is the issue. If legal malpractice could be defined as bringing improper tort cases for the damages they incur, such as increased premiums, the stigma of the suit, emotional harm and punitive damages, and plaintiff's lawyers could be sued for bringing improper cases, then I think the standard of legal practice would improve substantially.

The lawyers themselves claim that the fear of a med-mal suit improves the quality of doctoring. Well, let them take their own medicine. But until that happens, finding an honest plaintiff's lawyer is like finding an honest man in parliament. They exist, but they're hard to find. Especially when there is likely to be minimal to no economic incentive for them to turn away bad cases and the occasional lucky jackpot is enough to spur them ever forward.
Maybe we should have a list of those high end malpractice lawyers.. incase they ever drop by the hospitals....

Malpractice has become so much like a business investment... Lawyer hires academic expert A for $60k to come to court testify... he also hires expert doctor B for $70k to testify... nurse expert C for $30k.... and basically invests like 200k into expert witnesses in order to make a million dollar settlement.

John Edwards is a prime example..... :mad:
 

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3dtp said:
The lawyers themselves claim that the fear of a med-mal suit improves the quality of doctoring.
Any fool can see that fear of malpractice makes performance worse. First of all, the fear of malpractice encourages so-called "defensive medicine" in which every test/study known to man is ordered to "cover your ass." I have found that defensive medicine deadens the physician's diagnostic skills because he becomes over-reliant on excessive labs/studies. Secondly, since insurance companies often peg premiums on a hospital's complication rate (in the case of surgeons, for example), patients who are high-risk, but certainly operable, often get turned away. It just disgusts me.
 

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Faebinder said:
Maybe we should have a list of those high end malpractice lawyers.. incase they ever drop by the hospitals....

Malpractice has become so much like a business investment... Lawyer hires academic expert A for $60k to come to court testify... he also hires expert doctor B for $70k to testify... nurse expert C for $30k.... and basically invests like 200k into expert witnesses in order to make a million dollar settlement.

John Edwards is a prime example..... :mad:
There was a physician from Texas who was maintaining such a list. It was a list of plaintiffs and the attorneys who represented them. The site has been taken down.
 

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southerndoc said:
There was a physician from Texas who was maintaining such a list. It was a list of plaintiffs and the attorneys who represented them. The site has been taken down.

I heard that in the UK if you sue someone unsuccessfully, then you have to pay the other parties legal costs. Is this true?

If something like this were put into place in the US, that might help. no?

ALso, I like the idea about creating a definition of "legal malpractice". Create a list of those dodgy lawyers who keep bringing in cases and trying to twist money out of the docs for no real reason. Sue them in return!! Then put the money back into health care! :idea:
 

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OzDDS said:
I heard that in the UK if you sue someone unsuccessfully, then you have to pay the other parties legal costs. Is this true?

If something like this were put into place in the US, that might help. no?

ALso, I like the idea about creating a definition of "legal malpractice". Create a list of those dodgy lawyers who keep bringing in cases and trying to twist money out of the docs for no real reason. Sue them in return!! Then put the money back into health care! :idea:

I wonder if you pass the list around the hospitals and they come to a hospital, can a physician refuse to take them as a patient..... as far as I know.. it's your right not to take a patient as long as it is not an emergency.
 
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drbruce

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Yes, you're right, if you lose the court case in the UK you do have to cover the legal cost of the other party.

It seems crazy not to have that system in the US.

I think Shakespeare would have wanted us to take our chances anyway without lawyers. Sharpen your pitchforks, fellas.
 

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drbruce said:
Yes, you're right, if you lose the court case in the UK you do have to cover the legal cost of the other party.

It seems crazy not to have that system in the US.

I think Shakespeare would have wanted us to take our chances anyway without lawyers. Sharpen your pitchforks, fellas.
I agree... It is crazy we don't have "Loser pays" here. Its also crazy that one of the political parties had the poster boy for medical malpractice on their presidential ticket. I think there may be a connection! What say you?
 
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drbruce

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southerndoc said:
There was a physician from Texas who was maintaining such a list. It was a list of plaintiffs and the attorneys who represented them. The site has been taken down.

If I can find this list of plantiffs as well, how can the law prohibit me from continuing this doctors work by setting up my own website as the US is not my home?
 
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drbruce

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drbruce said:
If I can find this list of plantiffs as well, how can the law prohibit me from continuing this doctors work by setting up my own website as the US is not my home?
BTW - who is this John Edwards? The name sounds very familiar.
 

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That was the intention of the website. Several plaintiffs and their attorneys were denied physician access on numerous occasions.

The name of the website was DoctorsKnow.Us.

Here is a NYTimes article on the website: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9F06E4DD123EF932A25750C0A9629C8B63

Texas Company Removes Web List of Malpractice Plaintiffs
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By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: March 11, 2004
A doctors' Web site that compiled and posted the names of patients who have sued doctors for malpractice closed on Wednesday after complaints that it amounted to a blacklist.

The action was welcomed by patients who had been listed and a consumer advocacy group, Texas Watch, that called the five-month-old site ''a mean-spirited database to deny access to medical care.''

There was no notice of the shutdown, but a brief message on the suddenly blank site said, ''We apologize, but the DoctorsKnow.Us Web site is no longer available.''

On Wednesday evening, the site posted this message:

''DoctorsKnow.Us has permanently ceased operations as of 3/9/04. The controversy this site has ignited was unanticipated and has polarized opinions regarding the medical malpractice crisis. Our hope is that this controversy will spark a serious discussion that results in changes that are equitable to both patients and physicians. All charges that have been collected will be returned to members and trial members.''

This week, after The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal had written about the site, it went blank for hours and then reappeared with a notice that said: ''This is not a blacklist. Many plaintiff claims are meritorious.''

John S. Jones, a Terrell radiologist who registered the DoctorsKnow.Us company in Austin in January 2003 and took it operational in November, did not respond to repeated messages left Wednesday and other days on his office answering machine.

The shutdown was praised by patients who had been listed and who were preparing to appear on television news programs like ''Good Morning America.''

''I think it's great,'' said Greg Dawson, the director of Emergency Preparedness for the North Central Texas Council of Governments who appeared on the list after having won an undisclosed settlement from doctors and a hospital in Fort Worth for their failing to detect his wife's advanced and fatal brain tumor.

Mr. Dawson said he had had trouble since then finding a doctor who would treat his 18-year-old son for a minor ailment. Mr. Dawson said that he had been preparing to appear on ''Good Morning America'' but that the segment was canceled after the program had been told that the Web site was closing.

On Sunday, Beth Longnecker of El Paso e-mailed a request to the site to consider listing physicians with high numbers of meritorious malpractice cases. A response on Tuesday used disparaging vulgar language.
 
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drbruce

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Solideliquid said:
Lord have mercy.

Lol.. what do you mean "Lord have mercy", I'm from England. Do you know Oliver Letwin? Probably not.
 
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drbruce

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Yeah but it is only a shadow of its former self... I guess they just want to create awareness of this growing crisis.

Did the radiologist take down this site willingly? It will be nice to have another plantiff site running, with no trail back to the owner. You can't held somebody accountable if they are invisible.
 

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How do you make the site operational again? If it is set up by someone in a different country, could you still get in trouble for having it?

Also, I find it ironic that the they want to put a up website for doctors who have been sued but refuse to have one identifying plaintiffs/lawyers who sue doctors. Oh the double standard.
 

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OzDDS said:
I heard that in the UK if you sue someone unsuccessfully, then you have to pay the other parties legal costs. Is this true?

If something like this were put into place in the US, that might help. no?

ALso, I like the idea about creating a definition of "legal malpractice". Create a list of those dodgy lawyers who keep bringing in cases and trying to twist money out of the docs for no real reason. Sue them in return!! Then put the money back into health care! :idea:
This already is partially in place here in the US. If you sue unsucessfully, then you pay all the court costs. It would be difficult to make someone pay the other party's legal fees.

For example You sue me and I win with an O.J. defense team and you now pay their million dollar bill. It would essentially discourage lawsuits of all kinds against the rich who can afford expensive lawyers. This would never go through.
 

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undecided3yr said:
This already is partially in place here in the US. If you sue unsucessfully, then you pay all the court costs. It would be difficult to make someone pay the other party's legal fees.

For example You sue me and I win with an O.J. defense team and you now pay their million dollar bill. It would essentially discourage lawsuits of all kinds against the rich who can afford expensive lawyers. This would never go through.
Except that such a system works fine in England, Canada, New Zealand, Austrailia, India......

The fact that both sides must pay if they lose keeps people on the up and up.

Ed
 
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drbruce

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toughlife said:
How do you make the site operational again? If it is set up by someone in a different country, could you still get in trouble for having it?

Yeah, I was thinking this. I don't mind setting up the site myself just as long as I can get my hands on that list and if people don't mind keeping me informed about the latest court cases.

But I can't understand how that list came into their possession though, having never seen the site when it was fully operational.
 

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3dtp said:
Huge problem. I got out of OB in part precisely because of this. If anything goes wrong, anything, including a patients non-compliance with medical advice, and there's a bad outcome you are sued and screwed.

Sleazy lawyers like John Edwards will roll the dice on cases where there is no malpractice because they can. If it looks like they'll never be able to make a case, they offer an out of court settlement for costs knowing that the insurance company will look at it as a cheap way out, since the costs of defending at trial will far exceed the settlement offer.

Meanwhile neurosurgeons like your man get listed in the databank, the same insurance companies jack up his premiums because he's been sued and settled and make their money back.

This encourages the sleasy lawyers to take questionable cases on contingency. They know the med-mal insurance companies won't be interested in spending $$$$ for a trial defense and in the worst case, they'll be out a few hours of their time. Then they set it up and do it again. Someone on this board wrote that they knew an OBG who got sued 3 times as an intern! I am thanking the good Lord that the statute of limitations on every last delivery I did has long passed.

I do not think the problem is with runaway jurors or huge verdicts. Huge verdicts are reduced or set aside on appeal. Our justice system has, for the most part served us pretty well. I think juries are mostly looking to do the right thing. Plaintiffs who do have a legitimate beef should be heard and should have a chance to address legitimate problems. It may not be perfect, but its the best that's been made so far. I think it was your Shakespeare in Henry VIII, who wrote, "The first thing is kill all the lawyers." A noble sentiment, but without someone to oversee and enforce the laws, then the whole population is screwed.

The random lottery of lawyers looking to cash in on someones misfortune or bad outcome and blame it on someone is the issue. If legal malpractice could be defined as bringing improper tort cases for the damages they incur, such as increased premiums, the stigma of the suit, emotional harm and punitive damages, and plaintiff's lawyers could be sued for bringing improper cases, then I think the standard of legal practice would improve substantially.

The lawyers themselves claim that the fear of a med-mal suit improves the quality of doctoring. Well, let them take their own medicine. But until that happens, finding an honest plaintiff's lawyer is like finding an honest man in parliament. They exist, but they're hard to find. Especially when there is likely to be minimal to no economic incentive for them to turn away bad cases and the occasional lucky jackpot is enough to spur them ever forward.
Just when I thought now in the medical field that John Edwards was/is a Sleazy lawyer. Seems to me in the past years medical has been going left.... Then they wounder why salary+malpractice=****y salary... Might as well go work in europe and have a good lifestyle and make sim. m oney as here.
 

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I don't really understand how it could be wrong for there to be a list of the plantiffs and plantiff lawyers. There are websites that people can look up doctors profiles and any board decisions regarding them. Why shouldn't we be allowed the same? It should all be public record anyways shouldn't it?
 

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Can physicians sue patients if they get Hep C from a needle stick? Especially if the patient was negligent in revealing their condition or getting tested in the first place?