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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
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Tort Reform Has No Place In Health Care Reform

103 comments

President Obama needs the support of all of us in regard to the efforts by the insurance industry to sneak tort reform into the health care bill before Congress. No back room deals with the insurance industry will be tolerated by the vast majority of Americans who are clamoring for real health care reform and no Shibai!

Tort reform has no place in health care reform. Taking away the rights of patients injured by negligent doctors and hospitals will do nothing to improve health care and study after study has shown that tort reform will not lower doctor’s insurance costs. The biggest myth is the false claim that health care costs are driven up by defensive medicine _ doctors doing unnecessary medical tests to avoid frivolous lawsuits. When studies have been about those tests in states where tort reform has been passed, it turns out that the doctors and hospitals continue to do the tests. Why? Because they make money doing those tests. So leaving the 98,000 Americans who die each year due to negligent doctors and hospitals through preventable medical injuries without a remedy for their losses is un-American and just plain wrong.

You may be interested in reading the true facts about defensive medicine:

The Public Deserves The Truth About Lawsuit Abuse and Medical Malpractice - By Wayne Parsons, June 24, 2009 3:00 PM

Debunking the Myth on Defensive MedicineBy Cecelia Prewett, American Association of Justice (AAJ)

Not surprisingly the Honolulu Star Bulletin has taken up this false call for tort reform recently. That is consistent with the major media outlets siding with the insurance industry and ignoring the facts about health care and the basic American constitutional principle that for for every wrong there should be a remedy.

For more information go to the site for People over Profits where real facts are published and myths debunked. The Center For Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) led by legendary consumer advocate Joanne Doroshow is also a fabulous source for the real facts on these myths that major news media like the editors of the Honolulu Star Bulletin perpetuate on behalf of their friends in Big Insurance.

We must all tell President Obama and Congress not to tamper with the rights of injured patients to appease a greedy insurance industry that is, in fact, primarily responsible for the health care crisis of 98,000 deaths each year, many uninsured patients and doctors being gouged for their legitimate billings by insurance adjusters. I support the statement of Anthony Tarricone, President of the American Association of Justice in his communication today on the subject:

Washington, DC—“Any changes to the malpractice system must focus on patient safety and preventable medical errors, not limiting patients’ legal rights.

“The goals outlined by the White House – such as reducing the number of injuries, fostering better communication, compensating patients quicker, and reducing doctors’ premiums – move the debate in the right direction.

“However, 46 states have already enacted tort reform and health care costs continue to hurt the pocketbooks of American families. Because of these tort reforms, patients injured through no fault of their own are often unable to seek justice.

“It is critical that these demonstration projects preserve Americans’ 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury. The details matter significantly, but any efforts to limit patients’ rights are not acceptable. Promoting greater patient safety and reducing preventable medical errors are tenets doctors, attorneys, hospitals, and all Americans can support.”

### As the world’s largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

103 Comments

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  1. Mark Mann, MD says:
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    I’m not sure which studies Mr. Parsons has been reading regarding defensive medicine, but I believe it has been demonstrated quite clearly that defensive medicine adds tremendously to costs. Also, it has been well established that good physicians are leaving the field, retiring early, or choosing different professions because of the way malpractice premiums have impacted a physician’s ability to survive. We’re not talking about one less European sports car here, in many cases, insurance premiums have literally placed a physician in the red. You use the term “neglegent doctors”. You must understand that a very good doctor with a perfect track record is never more than one bad outcome away from losing everything, literally. It has happened in my home state. One jury award exceeding the typical coverage could potentially cost a doctor everything. Finally, understand that every suit that surfaces against a physician, even an excellent physician with a perfect track record, must be defended. It is expensive, anxiety provoking, and typically lasts years. To suggest that tort reform has no place in health care reform is not just naive, but suggests a symptom that our colleagues in behavioral science call “magical thinking”.

  2. Kerry Willis says:
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    Pretty funny stuff which claims imaginary studies that fly in the face of reality that demonstarted a decrease in insurance costs in Mississippi and Texas after Tort reform combined with a massive increase in numbers of physicians and a massive increase in access to care. Even funnier is using a reference written by himself and the Trial Lawyers professional association to support his assertions. The facts are we have to be able to pay for the care provided to people who don’t have coverage now. Our choices are reduce the costs of defensive medicine whose costs represent a minimum of 30 billion dollars a year and as much as a hundred billion[meaning 300 billion to 1 trillion over ten years] or make no changes and ensure that costs will continue to rise out of control. Hmmmm provide people with healthcare without additional spending without any cuts to current programs or feed lawyers…..

  3. Kris says:
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    Oh my god. Will you lawyers ever learn?

    Why don’t you get a trial lawyer to go deliver your baby, perform brain surgery, and give your mom a hip replacement?

    Insane. What are you going to tell the pediatricians sued for 22 million or the OB/GYNS who CAN NOT practice because their insurance premiums = their salary.

    Without physicians, the world stops.

  4. Dr. YB says:
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    ROTF- crying!
    If the topic weren’t so serious, this article would be funny.
    Lawyers, like for profit insurance companies, are generally parasitic creatures.
    Dedicated medical/legal personnel in medical courts with the issue of sanctions against the doctor being separate from harm to the patient and compensation are the way to go.
    Lawyers are in no way interested in health reform as this would mean a serious “cut in pay”. If you guys are so concerned about poor damaged patients, how about cutting your contingency fees to a flat rate, or 10% of the millions you like to go after?
    Didn’t think so.

  5. Kris says:
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    Look, I don’t quarrel with cutting physician reimbursements to some degree, but its categorically UNFAIR to not limit their malpractice in that situation.

    Remember Nevada? Without tort reform, general surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons just LEFT the state, and almost left the only Level I trauma center in Las Vegas with NO SURGEONS.

    In an emergency situation, they passed a tort reform statue and the surgeons came back.

  6. Facebook User says:
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    This article flies in the face of commonsense.

    1. “Tort reform has no place in health care reform. Taking away the rights of patients injured by negligent doctors and hospitals will do nothing to improve health care and study after study has shown that tort reform will not lower doctor’s insurance costs.”

    This is misleading and false.

    Tort reform is not about taking away the rights of patients to get compensated. Tort reform is the improvement of legalcare, the elimination of waste and legal greed, the protection of the defenseless be it plaintiff or defendant and returning to justice and fairness to all. Malicious, greedy or negligent lawyers do harm to many and they should be punished or censured or educated just the same as negligent doctors, store owners, or anyone who does their job badly and injures innocent victims.

    2. “The biggest myth is the false claim that health care costs are driven up by defensive medicine _ doctors doing unnecessary medical tests to avoid frivolous lawsuits.”

    False

    If you stretch the imagination and truth and for the sake of argument agree that costs are not driven up by unnecessary tests, the troubling, “FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS”, still looms large and is a fact of life which must be eliminated from our society.

    “It is one of the great weaknesses of reasonable men and women that they imagine that projects which fly in the face of commonsense are not serious or being seriously undertaken.” — Margaret Thatcher.

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    R. Kiefer: Your link doesn’t work. I am interested in reading it.

  8. up arrow

    J Kim offers a view of health care that could be a model for how the public and the major media like the Honolulu Star Bulletin should view a contentious issue. For people who don’t know her, Janice Kim, aka “J Kim” is one of the great national advocates for common sense, justice and how to deal with an insurance company.

  9. Mike Bryant says:
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    What a interesting set of statements: There are a number of articles here at the Injuryboard that answer a number of the questions, but let’s look at defensive medicine. The doctors get the money and as of yet have never sat down and given us a list of all of the unnecessary things they billed for. Nor have they told us how many times they did find something. Just blanket claims that there was all of these claims of when they billed HI companies for things they they never should have done. Because of these amounts they collected and this care they know they shouldn’t have given they need relief.
    The relief they seek is to limit their responsibility to the patient. To arbitrarily put a number on the damage they cause. 250 is the number that they usually want to trade a child or a wife/husband or head of the household for. That by then allowing this cost benefit analysis on a human life the system will be better off.
    In Minnesota we have expert affidavits, no discovery rule, and no caps and at the same time low premiums, reduced claims and Excellent overall health care. I don’t see doctors flocking out of here and the patients have rights. That seems to work.
    It’s time to quit shilling for the Insurance companies. Many of the arguments to add tort reform are unsupported by the savings and in the end truly do hurt individual patients. Caps are unfair and they take responsibility away from the person at fault and place it on all of society. I’m sure it was fun for a couple of you to read from the Bush/Rove book of bash the lawyers, but it’s time to get over that.

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    I can understand why the attorneys in Minnesota have chosen Mike Bryant to lead them in the fight against Big Insurance. I am going to give your analysis to all of my clients and to prospective clients:

    The doctors get the money and as of yet have never sat down and given us a list of all of the unnecessary things they billed for. Nor have they told us how many times they did find something. Just blanket claims that there was all of these claims of when they billed HI companies for things they they never should have done. Because of these amounts they collected and this care they know they shouldn’t have given they need relief.
    The relief they seek is to limit their responsibility to the patient. To arbitrarily put a number on the damage they cause. 250 is the number that they usually want to trade a child or a wife/husband or head of the household for. That by then allowing this cost benefit analysis on a human life the system will be better off.
    In Minnesota we have expert affidavits, no discovery rule, and no caps and at the same time low premiums, reduced claims and Excellent overall health care. I don’t see doctors flocking out of here and the patients have rights. That seems to work. It’s time to quit shilling for the Insurance companies.

    Great advice Michael!

  11. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Dr. Mann, Who doctor who actually practices this false concept called defensive medicine is committing fraud on the government and insurance industry. What they call defensive medicine is ordering unnecessary tests and then getting paid for it by submitting bills to Medicare and BCBS. Are you saying there is in the practice of medicine an entire industry committing insurance fraud?

    Good physicians are quitting medicine? Please name as many as you can.

    You claim to know doctors who lost everything. Please name one and let us know if he or she canceled their malpractice insurance or it was cancelled due to committing so many professional mistakes, a gambling problem, a drug problem or an alcohol issue.

    Why is it that you believe the patient should pay for professional mistakes? What other profession is asking for their clients to pay for their mistakes? If malpractice premiums are so high why is it we never hear the physicians income level? Isn’t the reasonableness of one expense item relative to the income level?

  12. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Kerry Willis – What do you do for a living? Texas has yet to put the numbers on the table with proof. It’s doubtful you can take a few dollars away from a few catastrophically injured patients and that alone will attract good physicians. It’s more likely that in Texas physicians with poor skills and many claims go there because the underwriting has gotten sloppy due to Texas style tort reform. And why aren’t you talking about Texas transferring the costs to care for the catastrophically injured and their dependents to the federal government? You’re ok with that? So Texas gets a waiver and we all pick up the tab? That’s your health care reform in a nut shell.

  13. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Kris – Interesting question you ask. Please name the doctor and their gross income whose malpractice insurance premiums equal their salary.

  14. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Dr. YB – It’s interesting that you use the phrase “if the topic weren’t so serious, this article would be funny”. Are you trained by the tort reform associations? Because the folks associated with big Tobacco’s tort reformers seem to use that same mantra. Are you capitalists or communists? I’m a capitalist. What happened to the free market economy in your tort reformed world? Did it go Socialist? You have no idea how the lawyers’ pay has been cut over the past 15 years. We aren’t all practicing suing pharmaceutical companies and doctors. There isn’t a lawyer I know that isn’t looking for something else to do to earn a living. Besides the pay cut we are all sick and tired of listening to the greedy insurance industry and the doctors who like to blame our entire profession for your professions problems. Maybe if your profession asked the right question you’d get control of the problem. The question isn’t why there are so many lawsuits; the right question is why there are so many injuries? Ask that question, then solve it and you won’t have to every talk to a lawyer again except for estate planning. If you wait long enough you’ll not be able to find a lawyer to take your case when they next cheat you out of reimbursements. Now that would be funny.

  15. gregg shivers says:
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    Defensive medicine is a myth. Anyone who has tried to get his/her health insurance to pay for a procedure knows that the insurers would never pay for “billions of dollars” in unnecessary tests and procedures. Also, if the medical industry would police itself, malpractice cases would be cut in half or more. Well over 50% of the malpractice suits are against about 5% of doctors. The same docs get sued successfully over and over again but are still in the insurance pool and still practicing medicine. Doctors will not turn each other in and will not testify against each other. Hospitals will not deny credentials and insurers keep adding these bad docs to the pool which substantially increases everyone’s premiums. I am a big fan of the vast majority of docs and want to find ways to help them but they have to join in the fight to get rid of the docs that have a license to kill. Otherwise, denying the rights of the victims of those bad docs would be a travesty of Justice.

  16. Mark Mann, MD says:
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    Cosmic surgeon from Maryland? You’ve got to be kidding? I am a Family Physician from a rural area in a small town on the Great Plains. I see patients in my 1200 square foot clinic through the week with a plush, private office of 80 square feet. I also serve as a Hospice director, Nursing Home director, EMS medical director, ER physician, and give my time routinely to a local free medical clinic for the uninsured. Many of the positions I occupy are pro bono. You see in a small town, we tend to spread ourselves very thin. My children see me a great deal less than some of my patients. I’m no hero or saint, just a country doctor, and at present, I’ve never lost a suit to anybody. I do not do plastic surgery, and many of my procedures go unpaid but most are appreciated. Tonight, I’ll be a hgih school team physician, and it looks like for the most part in the driving rain. This job pays about as much as the Free Clinic gig. But it’s what we do in rural America. For the record, I drive a pick up truck, but I’m not missing any meals (although I am still paying on student loans). Most importantly, like most rural physicians, I love my work. I would love it more without the threat of losing everything I own to a malpractice attorney who advertises on late-night TV about any potential side effect to any of the following medications….. That’s who I am, and you?

  17. Robert Bonsignore says:
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    very well put

  18. randy rhodes says:
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    I am a lawyer and my firm defends doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice cases. Here in Missouri, we’ve had two phases of “tort reform.” The results are always the same. Doctors keep paying ridiculous premiums and insurance companies make record profits.

    The fact of the matter is that 99% of doctors are wonderful people who want the best for their patients and 99% (well, given TV advertisers, that may be a point or two too high) of attorneys are similarly wonderful people who want the best for their clients. The real problem is not the doctors or the lawyers. It’s the insurance companies that dictate what doctors can and can’t do and that use the threat of lawsuits to make enemies of two groups of professionals who want the same thing.

  19. Mark Bello says:
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    The bottom line is that doctors sometimes make mistakes and buy insurance to protect themselves from patients in the event of a mistake. Insurance companies, who make huge profits off the premiums charged these doctors, create the myth that the system is broken using terms like “lawsuit abuse” and “frivolous lawsuits”, then seek “tort reform”. This reform always comes in the form of a bailout for insurance companies on serious lawsuits, ones where serious negligence of a doctor results in serious and expensive consequences to the victim. Reform always comes in the form of an artificially low cap on damages, which leaves the taxpayers holding the bill for negligence that the insurance companies have accepted the risk for, collected premiums for, and are making substantial profits on. No one can point to statistics where a state that has instituted so-called “tort reform” has seen a substantial reduction in premiums to doctors, but, even if someone could, why should the leftover burden be born by the victim or the taxpayer instead of the doctor and his insurance company (the ones who profit from the patient)? When it comes to health care reform and insurance for all, you scream “socialism”. When it comes to the executive and legislative branches regulating the judicial branch and restricting the rights of a victim and the free market opinions of a judge or jury that actually heard the facts and applied the law in a particular case, suddenly that brand of “socialism” is acceptable. You tort reformers are nothing but hypocrites.

  20. kay says:
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    I spent twenty years working as a registered nurse and based on that experience I would like to suggest that the only tort reform that should be done is to make it much easier and more economical for injured patients to bring suit against healthcare providers, because the injuries due to negligence happen day in and day out and only very, very rarely are health care providers ever held accountable. What they want is immunity from ever being responsible for their negligence. In many instances, they already have that. The insurance companies
    reap profits in the meantime. SINGLE PAYOR PLAN is the way to go- insurance company reform is the way to help doctors with premium issues. (But – did you know, in many instances the doctors OWN the insurance companies and pay a high premium but reap dividends in return?) Humph!

  21. Jeff Gale says:
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    Thank you, Mr. Parsons. This war has been raging for years. Here is a letter I wrote in 2003, which was published as a Letter to the Editor in The Miami Herald:

    Together with the right to vote, the jury system is a key component in the ability of Americans to control the society in which they live. Efforts by federal and state politicians at capping the measure of damages available in civil cases is a direct attack on the jury system, and thus the power of the citizenry to control their society. Jurors, after thoughtful consideration of the evidence presented to them, should have the freedom, tempered only by instructions from the judge pertaining to the law, to award damages in proportion to the facts of the case. For the most part, juries are dead-on correct in their verdicts. To argue otherwise is to ignore a large body of statistical evidence and question the ability of everyday people to judge wisely. Moreover, in those rare instances where a jury decides incorrectly, the aggrieved parties, be they the plaintiffs or the defendants, have available to them many tools (e.g. retrial; appeal; etc.) to right the wrong.

    Damage caps provide immunity from accountability and should be opposed. Our civil jury system works exceedingly well and should remain free of arbitrary constraints. Ironically, the system is under heavy attack because it works so well, that it serves the purpose for which it was created, which is to hold individuals and corporations accountable for their conduct and, hopefully, to improve future behavior.

  22. Francis Murphy says:
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    On the issue of health care reform, I found the article in the Atlantic ” How American Health Care Killed My Father” very helpful. See
    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care

    The author, who is a business man, cannot fathom how the system tolerates so many errors and states: “Here’s an industry that loudly protests the high cost of liability insurance and the injustice of our tort system and yet needs extensive lobbying to embrace a simple technique to save up to 100,000 people.”

    Reform efforts should put an emphasis on improving the quality of care. Insulating the system from being accountable for errors will not reduce errors and the hugely high medical costs of responding to the results of those errors.

    Francis Murphy, Nashua, NH

  23. Paul Lagnese says:
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    Dr. Mann I certainly respect and appreciate what you do for your community and your patients. By way of disclosure, I represent people who have been injured by careless doctors and hospitals. However,I have two brothers and a sister in law who are family doctors in the Pittsburgh area. Thus,I am sensitive to the problem of lawsuits that may be brought merely because there was a bad outcome rather than some carelessness on the part of the doctor or hospital.

    In Pennsylvania, rather than limiting a person’s right to sue or limiting a jury’s award our Supreme Court instituted a rule that required a certificate of merit to be filed with any lawsuit. What this means is that before I can file any lawsuit I must have a written statement from a doctor who practices in the same subspecialty as the defendant that the defendant was negligent and that negligence brought about harm. This requirement, enacted in 2002, has resulted in a great reduction in lawsuits, a great reduction in payments by insurance carriers, and a great reduction in malpractice premiums. If you click this link
    http://www.courts.state.pa.us/NR/rdonlyres/E09BD30E-C684-4BCC-9EA7-34F9637691D3/0/prrel09409.pdf

    you can see the Pennsylvania Supreme Court annual report on malpractice lawsuits. If you look at the numbers you will also see that physicians and hospitals win 85% of the case that are tried to verdict. I point this out to show that the medical profession successfully defends most of the lawsuits filed against it.

    I would suggest that rather than limiting a person from being able to have his/her case brought in our legal justice system and treated like every other person who has been injured as a result of the carelessness of others, other states could enact something like the certificate of merit process we have in Pennsylvania.

    I would like to address a few specific issues raised by you and others. First with regard to the issue of doctor’s income and the impact of malpractice premiums I have never understood from an economic standpoint why the doctors have been so quick to align with the Chamber of Commerce the drug companies and insurance companies to make tort reform their number one issue. The reality is that other than two or three spikes that occurred as a result of problems in the insurance industry medical malpractice premiums have not risen that much over the past 20 when adjusted for inflation. Morover the fact is that indemnity payments when adjusted for inflation have stayed a fairly stable amount. The variable that has created the spikes in malpractice premium and fewer companies writing insurance is the sometimes volitile flucuation in the investment markets. It only makes sense that if the insurance carrier was getting a 10% return on the premiums it collected in one year and only gets a 5% return on the same amount of premiums the next year they are either going to raise the amount of the premiums or not write the insurance the next year. It seems to me that the doctors economic interest would be better served by working to stop the decrease in reimbursment they get from Medicare and the private insurance companies. One of my physician brothers complains that his health insurance premium for his office staff goes up 15% at the same time his reimbursment rates from the same insurer goes down 4%. Something doesn’t make sense there. Lets look into why health insurers premiums go up and reimburements to doctors are going down.

    Second this idea of defensive medicine is one that does not make sense to me. Dr. Mann I am sure that you would never have one of your patients undergo totally uneccessary tests simply because you wanted to protect yourself in the extraordinarly rare instance that your patient sued you. I am sure that you would agree that it would be unethical for a doctor to order a test for a patient that the patient doesn’t need and is only being ordered to protect the doctor from a possible lawsuit. Not only would it be unethical but it would seem to also constitue insurance fraud. In this era of managed care, I find it hard to believe that insurance companies are agreeing to pay for test that are only being ordered because the doctor wants to cover his/her behind from some potential lawsuit.

    Believe it or not we care about our clients as much as you care for your patients. Lawyers care about the safe, affordable, and accessable delivery of health care to our friends, family and clients as much as doctors do. I would hope that we will work on finding ways to accomplish those shared goals without doing so on the backs of those who are innocent victims.
    I think there are things that

  24. Shane Harward says:
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    If by “tort reform” you mean placing caps on injuries no matter how terrible and no matter how outrageous the medical provider’s conduct, it clearly does not have a place in the health insurance reform debate. Everyone should be held equally accountable for their conduct. Doctors are not God, make mistakes (sometimes very egregious mistakes), and should be held accountable just like everyone else.

    Ms. Rhodes makes some very good points. “Caps” were attempted in California and Texas as a way to control medical malpractice premiums. They both failed miserably. It wasn’t until insurance reform was initiated that malpractice premiums declined.

    “Defensive Medicine” is a tiny part of the overall healthcare cost. It is hardly measurable, as opposed to medical provider self-referrals which are a huge cost. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/30/AR2009073004285_pf.html. Here is an article written by an articulate doctor which addresses the typical knee jerk sound bite arguments and fearmongering regarding health insurane reform and defensive medicine. Those that are abusing diagnostic studies, etc. are doing it to make money for themselves, their hospitals and their surgical centers. It has very little to do with patient care or defensive medicine. It’s all about money. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande?printable=true.

    “Medical malpractice is so common, and litigation over it so rare, that between three and seven Americans die from medical errors for every one who receives a payment for any malpractice claim, according to Public Citizen’s analysis of medical malpractice payment data and the best available patient safety estimates.” Medical malpractice payouts are at record lows. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2009/07/medical_payments.html. Yet, insurance companies are still making record profits at the expense of doctors, their patients, and all Americans. And, many believe that the health insurance industry has already won. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_33/b4143034820260.htm

    “Tort reform” is a red herring being used by the health insurance industry to deflect blame in this debate.

  25. Facebook User says:
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    Wayne is right; proposed changes in the medical negligence system (mislabeled “reform”) have no place in a responsible debate about improving access to affordable, quality healthcare

    Harvard School of Public Health Press Releases
    HSPH RSS
    Study Casts Doubt on Claims That the Medical Malpractice System Is Plagued By Frivolous Lawsuits
    For immediate release: May 10, 2006

    A new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital challenges the view that frivolous litigation is rampant and expensive.

    The researchers analyzed past malpractice claims … Their findings suggest that portraits of a malpractice system riddled with frivolous lawsuits are overblown….The findings appear in the May 11, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    “Some critics have suggested that the malpractice system is inundated with groundless lawsuits, and that whether a plaintiff recovers money is like a random ‘lottery,’ virtually unrelated to whether the claim has merit,” said lead author David Studdert, associate professor of law and public health at HSPH. “These findings cast doubt on that view by showing that most malpractice claims involve medical error and serious injury, and that claims with merit are far more likely to be paid than claims without merit.”

    The authors reviewed 1,452 closed claims from five malpractice insurance companies across the country. They focused on four clinical categories: surgery, obstetrics, medication and missed or delayed diagnosis, areas that collectively account for about 80% of all malpractice claims filed in the U.S. Specialist physicians in each of these clinical areas reviewed the claims and the associated medical records to determine whether the plaintiff had sustained an injury from care. If an injury had occurred, the physicians judged how likely it was to have been due to medical error.

    The reviewers found that almost all of the claims involved a treatment-related injury. More than 90% involved a physical injury, which was generally severe (80% resulted in significant or major disability and 26% resulted in death). The reviewers judged that 63% of the injuries were due to error. The remaining 37% lacked evidence of error, although some were close calls.

    Most claims (72%) that did not involve error did not receive compensation. When they did, the payments were lower, on average, than payments for claims that did involve error ($313,205 vs. $521,560). Among claims that involved error, 73% received compensation. “Overall, the malpractice system appears to be getting it right about three quarters of the time,” said Studdert. “That’s far from a perfect record, but it’s not bad, especially considering that questions of error and negligence can be complex.” The 27% of cases with outcomes that didn’t match their merit included claims that went unpaid even though the injury was caused by an error (16%); claims that were paid but did not involve error (10%); and claims that were paid but did not appear to involve a treatment-related injury (0.4%).


    Finally, the authors found that the claims that did not involve errors absorbed a relatively small piece of the costs of compensation. Eliminating those claims would decrease the system’s compensation and administrative costs by no more than 13% to 16%. “Many of the current tort reform initiatives, such as caps on noneconomic damages, are motivated by a perception that ‘jackpot’ awards in frivolous suits are draining the system,” explained Michelle Mello, an associate professor of health policy and law at HSPH and a co-author of the study. “But nearly 80% of the administrative costs of the malpractice system are tied to resolving claims that have merit.”

    In a separate study released May 10 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Synthesis Project, Mello examined the effects of the recent increases in malpractice insurance premiums on the delivery of health care services and the impacts of state tort reforms. Reviewing existing studies, the report concluded that the deteriorating liability environment has had only a modest effect on the supply of physician services. … most tort reforms adopted by states in response to malpractice crises have not been effective in boosting physician supply or reducing insurance or litigation costs. … The study is available at http://www.rwjf.org/publications/synthesis/reports_and_briefs/issue10.html
    Copyright © 2009, President and Fellows of Harvard College

  26. Devon Glass says:
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    To Mark Mann, Kerry Willis, Kris, DR. YB and everyone who believes that tort reform is necessary, I urge you to read this article in Slate, http://www.slate.com/id/2145400/, and also to look at the book The Medical Malpractice Myth. The article and book both show, with appropriate studies to back up the assertions, that medical malpractice claims only account for 0.5% of all health care spending. That’s it. And that’s with tort reform already happening in most states. Do you tort reformers think that cutting that number even in half will help with out of control medical expenses? We spend more than 2 TRILLION dollars each year on medical expenses, of that 10 billion is for medical malpractice claims. Do you think saving money in that small amount will make any difference in the care provided by doctors or the rates they are charged by insurance companies? In Michigan, we’ve had caps for over 10 years and the premiums have not gone done one penny, although the amount of lawsuits has decreased significantly. Do you think this means that less people are being harmed by negligent doctors, or that people are less able to bring valid claims?

    One more thing to think about, this article in the Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/01/15/a-simple-surgical-checklist-saves-lives/, makes it clear that a simple checklist reduced surgical complications by more than a third. The checklist included: properly identifying the patient, making sure the surgical site is correct, verifying the procedure about to be performed, checking to see if the patient has any special surgical needs, among many other very simple tasks. It should be embarrassing that a checklist that simple results in a third less complications, that saves more money than tort reform would hands down.

    Doctors make mistakes all the time, so do attorneys, no one should be able to artificially limit the damages anyone is awarded.

  27. eldesign says:
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    You hit the nail on the head. The focus should be on the insurers. How does taking away the legal remedy of people injured by medical negligence advance healthcare objectives? defensive medicine, in my mind, is ordering tests/procedures not to advance the interests of the patient’s care but protect the healthcare provider from potential liability. By definition, these test/procedures are not medically necessary for the patient. Why do the carriers pay for such tests? If they are unecessary to care? Isn’t it insurance fraud to order medical testing not medically necessary protect the physician rather than to advance the patients care and bill the healthcare system?
    Also, don’t many physicans own testing facilities and equipment such MRI imaging? Don’t they make $$$$ when such a test is conducted. Perhaps, physicians should be barred from owning and referring to testing facilities that they have an ownership interest in. I bet the number of unneccary tests would fall. Just my 2 cents

  28. Michael T. Warshaw says:
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    Wayne,
    Good article. The “tort reform” position is to deny the almost 100,000 hospital patients who are injured or killed due to preventable medical errors (documented in the New England Journal of Medicine) any remedy. This coupled with the insurance industry representatives testimony before various state legislatures (including NJ) that “caps on non-economic damages” will not reduce premiums charged to Doctors for malpractice insurance demonstrated the disingenuous arguments used to support the arguments for so-called “tort reform.” Keep up the good work.

    Mike Warshaw

  29. up arrow

    Thanks for helping share the truth about this subject, Wayne. I want to share with you a conversation about this topic which I had with my father, a Marine Corps veteran, on Sunday.

    In my eyes, my dad is a pretty great guy who sacrificed much to serve his country as a Marine officer for 30 years. He now works as an emergency disaster relief volunteer, traveling to serve those affected by Katrina, Florida hurricanes, the tidal wave in Indonesia, etc. He is also involved in helping local faith-base charities with operations and logistics, usually does all of this out of his own pocket. Next week he is headed to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip.

    OK, so I am bragging on my dad. But I mention this not just because I am proud of him (I am). I want to point out that my father leans way right, and usually agrees with those calling for tort reform. You could say we come down on opposite sides on some of these issues.

    If you asked, he would say he is PRO any kind of med mal tort reform and ANTI any kind of government healthcare, but it’s not because he doesn’t care deeply about the health and rights of his fellow man. I think he is just towing the party line, which is strung together with half-truths and decades of propaganda.

    I can’t remember what he said (something along the lines of “If “your” president gets his way…”) that started the conversation, but it went something like this:

    Me: “Dad, a public option is not such a bad thing. Heck [as military dependents], we basically had socialized medicine and free government healthcare our whole lives, going to military doctors and military hospitals. It was great. Why can’t we provide the same for every citizen?”

    Dad: “Well, most of the doctors [in the military hospitals] are good, and some are the best in the world in treating things like trauma, but there are some really bad ones too and the rate of malpractice in military and VA hospitals is egregious. A lot of bad doctors hide out in government hospitals, and military hospitals pay out [some % I can’t remember] more than private hospitals per patient as a result.”

    Me: “Really? Not to service men and women, though, right? Because I understand the Feres doctrine protects them from malpractice on service members?”

    Dad: “Right – it is the rate of malpractice affecting their dependents [families] which is the problem.”

    Me: “You don’t think that service people being hurt or killed as a result of malpractice is a problem? You agree that Feres should protect doctors’ mistakes when it kills one of your Marines?”

    Dad: “No, I think that is part of the problem with military hospitals and socialized medicine. Less skilled doctors or those with bad records may actually be attracted, intentionally or by default, to the military medical system because of it.”

    — Soooo, basically he is “against” government healthcare because he is afraid of the result of related tort reforms that may protect or attract unskilled or irresponsible health care providers, something which he is “for.” That’s a weird position.

    He went on to tell me about how he felt that Gulf War Syndrome was a very real and serious issue, that the higher ups wanted to discount its existence, and that those affected by it were often wrongly chastised as malingerers and drummed out of the service.

    Be careful not to fall into the trap of giving up your rights to confront those who have harmed you in exchange for cheaper healthcare, or as a political chip in the healthcare debate. Whatever we do, we need to ensure we create a level playing field, for doctors, for lawyers, for citizens.

    That is what the civil justice system and jury trials are designed to do. Can the process be improved? Surely we as a society should work to improve the efficiency and practicality of our system. But doing away with malpractice liability would not be an improvement.

  30. Peter Webb says:
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    According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, med mal insurance and litigation costs are 1 to 1.5% of the cost of the health care system. The number of the claims today is the same as in the late 1980’s.
    Epidemiological studies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s conclude that of the one serious injury per 100 hospitalizations, only 4 to 7 percent of those injured bring a claim.
    Med mal reform is not a legitimate issue in the effort to modernize our health care system.

  31. up arrow

    Here are some thoughts on jury trials not from my father, but from one of our founding fathers:

    “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 1789. ME 7:408, Papers 15:269

    “[The people] are not qualified to judge questions of law, but they are very capable of judging question of fact. In the form of juries, therefore, they determine all controverted matters of fact, leaving thus as little as possible, merely the law of the case, to the decision of the judges.” –Thomas Jefferson to Abbe Arnoux, 1789. ME 7:422, Papers 15:283

    (I think you can insert “medicine” where he says “law” above, which is why the availability of credible expert witnesses are so important.)

    “With us, the people (by which is meant the mass of individuals composing the society), being competent to judge of the facts occurring in ordinary life, they have retained the functions of judges of facts under the name of jurors.” –Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:488

    “The following [addition to the Bill of Rights] would have pleased me:… All facts put in issue before any judicature shall be tried by jury except, 1, in cases of admiralty jurisdiction wherein a foreigner shall be interested; 2, in cases cognizable before a court martial concerning only the regular officers and soldiers of the United States or members of the militia in actual service in time of war or insurrection; and, 3, in impeachments allowed by the Constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson James Madison, 1789. ME 7:450, Papers 15:367

    (Note the phrase: “in actual service in time of war or insurrection” with regard to the service members. )

    “It will be worthy [of] consideration whether the protection of the inestimable institution of juries has been extended to all the cases involving the security of our persons and property. Their impartial selection also being essential to their value, we ought further to consider whether that is sufficiently secured in those States where they are named by a marshall depending on Executive will, or designated by the court or by officers dependent on them.” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Annual Message, 1801. ME 3:33

    — I wonder what Jefferson would think about the way individual states have gone about medical liability “reforms?”

  32. Jane Akre says:
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    Wayne- You’ve really stirred the pot- good for you because out of this discussion emerges a very clear picture.

    Doctors and lawyers need to have a meeting of the minds (the insurance industry’s worst nightmare)either privately or publicly. I wonder how both professions can weed out the five percent of undesirables who are strong arming hospitals to settle or repeatedly killing patients?

  33. Kris says:
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    In response to Wayne Parsons, I am a medical student and my father is a general surgeon. I know many physicians personally and almost all are warning me not to go into pediatrics, OB, or neonatology because the settlements are astronomical.

    One suit and it’s over. Goodnight Irene. I’ll look for some links, but truthfully:

    This is a board of trial lawyers. You’d never acknoweldge responsibility for anything even if you burned the whole house down. I challenge any trial lawyer to go perform brain surgery, deliver babies, or do anything that a doctor does on a routine basis to help society.

    It’s clear who we need and who we don’t. SUPPORT TORT REFORM!

  34. Wayne Hynum says:
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    I live in Mississippi and I can tell you categorically that the comment that tort reform greatly increased the number of physicians in Mississippi is an absolute lie. Furthermore the tort reform in Mississippi did not lower the malpractice insurance premiums of the State’s medical providers. All tort reform in Mississippi did was make the insurance companies richer at the expense of the people who were hurt the most by malpractice.

  35. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Kris: Come on med-student-Kris you’re gilding the lily; and you’re smarter than that. How much are the pediatricians, OB’s or neonatologists earning each year? I know some doctors are making $1.5 million each year. Let’s say their malpractice premium is $25,000. Is that too much? How about $60,000? I’ll pay $25,000 or $60,000 of $1,500,000 and my guess is all wage earners would as well. Why is this one sliver of the medical profession asking its patients to pay for the professionals mistakes? Several of my friends are doctors. They are not just good doctors but also good people. They want to do right by the patient when a professional mistake is made. Do you? The word shame comes to mind and a lack of it when I hear about phony apologies and making the patients pay for professional mistakes. It’s sort of along the same lines as Wall Street CEO’s getting a multi-million dollar bonus for nothing more than showing up. Really is that what they teach you? How about asking your mother what she taught you about what you’re supposed to do after making a mistake. Mine taught me to apologize and to take responsibility. Why can’t the bad doctors?

  36. up arrow

    First of all let me thank everyone who made a Comment. While doing that you may note that I deleted a few comments that I made. I was angry about the health care bill debate and about the fact that those who support tort reform don’t have valid data to back up their positions and ignore the overwhelming evidence about medical negligence. That’s how I see it. I welcome someone to come in with real facts, not just statements like “everyone knows”. But I owe an apology to Dr. Mann, Peeter and others who disagreed with me yesterday because my responses were inappropriate. I have many doctor friends and I support many medical causes. The vast majority of doctors are wonderful, smart caring human beings who care about their patients and save lives. Some segments of the medical profession – anesthesiologist for instance – approached the medical malpractice issue by doing closed case studies themselves to identify what led to lawsuits. In doing so they were able to identify things that they were doing that were more likely to injure patients and focus on prevention. As a result the malpractice suits went down and patient care improved. Attorneys and engineers should do the same thing.

  37. Wayne Hynum says:
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    I have a friend who is an OBGYN here in Mississippi. He’s told me he makes over $600,000 a year, which is a lot for Mississippi, and prior to tort reform he paid $60,000 a year for his malpractice insurance, and OBGYN is one of the highest risk specialties. He thought his malpractice premiums were outrageous. I think $540,000.00 profit a year is not too bad. He’s never been sued by the way, most doctors haven’t. Also, his premiums did NOT go down after all the tort reform was passed.

  38. up arrow

    Kris: I have no doubt that your dad ius a great doctor and that you will be one. I am very interested in any case that you can identify that supports what you say. In Hawaii there were last than 30 claims against doctors last year. No doctors have been put out of business or even financially harmed by a lawsuit here in a number of years. Most statements like you made come from hearing the myths that insurance companies spread. I have had this conversation with many doctors and I speak occasionally at medical conventions and when we dig into it they agree that they were relying on what they heard not what they know. As to attorneys not taking responsibility for anything, please remember that we also deal with important matters and if we make mistakes people can get hurt. Our service is justice, Your dad does surgery. I have made mistakes as attorney. I am human and it isn’t that I set out to hurt a client or did it on purpose but I just got a little sloppy and was a little careless. In each instance where that happened I called the client in and explained my mistake. Most often I could fix things up but in one case the client had their case dismissed because I got a filing date wrong. In that instance I told the client to bring a claim with my insurance company which he did. I admitted my error and told the insurance company to pay. To show you how bad insurance companies can be, they made my client hire an attorney, file a lawsuit against me and wait 2 years before paying him. I do know that doctors are gouged on their insurance and that they are underpaid by the health insurance companies. In 30 years of suing on behalf of injured people I have have never taken personal assets from a defendant, doctor, lawyer or truck driver. I know it happens but I don’t do it. The insurance is usually all anyone gets.

    I hope that you or a loved one never suffers a catastrophic injury and after filing suit learns that tort reform has let the person responsible off the hook. You are from a well-to-do family and may not worry about money but many people do not have that luxury.

    Thanks for the Comment and you my apology for my sarcastic initial response.

  39. Kathleen Wilson says:
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    Thank you for helping to explain some of these very serious issues with healthcare reform, Mr. Parsons. Not being a lawyer or a doctor, all of this talk of “defensive” medicine has me confused. If these tests being ordered by doctors are truly not necessary, why exactly are they ordering them? They say it is because they are afraid of being sued, right? And that’s why they call them “defensive”. Wait a minute. The get sued for NOT ordering unnecessary tests so they order unnecessary tests? I’m so confused. Or, is it that they order these tests because there is a chance—maybe a slim chance– that the test will uncover something they have missed? If they miss it and something horrible happens to the patient, then the doctor should be sued for not being thorough and responsible, in my opinion. If there is a very small chance my child’s lump on his back could be cancer, you bet I want EVERY test run to make sure it’s not cancer. (This happened to a friend of mine; the doctor said the chance of melanoma in a 13 year old boy was so rare she shouldn’t worry about it. She INSISTED he test anyway and it turned out to be melanoma!) That’s not defensive medicine in my opinion, that’s just the right thing to do. And anyway, it’s hard enough to get my insurance company to pay for tests my doctor does order sometimes so if he/she were ordering TRULY unnecessary tests wouldn’t that be fraud on the part of the doctor? I’m glad the lawyers are here in this case to protect me, my children and grandchildren, and my elderly relatives to make sure they get conscientious and accountable healthcare.

  40. Dan says:
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    Correct me if I am wrong, but is Defensive Medicine performing tests or procedures for purposes other than diagnosis or treatment. Isn’t it both unethical and insurance fraud to run unnecessary tests?

    In Colorado, the Denver Medical Society concluded:
    “Medical malpractice is not a major driver of spending trends. Premiums for liability coverage and defensive medicine do contribute to health spending at any moment in time, but they are not a large factor nor are they a significant factor in the overall growth of health care spending.”

    http://www.denvermedsociety.org/newsletters/DENVER%20MEDICAL%20BULLETIN%202008%2011.pdf

    I refuse to believe that doctors are engaging in widespread insurance fraud.

  41. Kerry Willis says:
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    You guys are funny. Asking a trial lawyer if Tort reform is needed is like asking a fox if more wire is needed around the henhouse. Several Folks have alreay noted the NEJM article concerning defensive medcine and the idea that 94% of Docs order testes to protect themselves from being sued. The other 6% are liars. Whether you believe that defensive medicine is a 2% problem or a 20% problem it represents 30-100 billion dollars in spending that is wasted. Mississippi had a crisis in access to care and little ability to attract any physicians. Tort reform passed and Physicans are rapidly entering the state and simlar circumstances occured in Calfornia and Texas. The New York times and the NEJM and Washington times have all carried stories recently detailing the stories of these states. You guys are great! justice is your business…is that what youcall shaking folks down for 40% of the money they recieve for being injured. Negotiating Docotors and hospitals down to 50 cents on a dollar for their expenses after settlement…is that what you call taking responsibility and justice. The difference between law and medicine is justice is obtained for a price and anyone can get medical care for free. Any of you guys do 10-20% or more of your gross billings in pro bono work every year for the last 10? The Medical Malpractice Myth did Mike Moore ghost write that one for you after he finished sicko? Please keep posting in this thread, I want to forward it to jon Stewart at the daily show and let him make you all famous

  42. Kerry willis says:
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    good article reviewing the need for tort reform and the issue from both sides

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/no_20090831_5711.php

    Mississippi’s story
    http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=16547

    american thinker perspective with references
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/medical_tort_reform.html

  43. T. Hickman says:
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    Wayne:

    Thanks so much for your insightful article on tort reform and President’s Obama’s initiatives. I’ve often thought that there was no relation between malpractice insurance and the tort system, as it always sounded to me as if insurance companies have ginned it up to make more and more and more money at the expense of good doctors all over the country.

    As a patient of a doctor who made my condition far worse than I was prior to being operating on, I can tell you that people like me need to have our rights protected by lawyers like yourself and not taken away in a political football game with ridiculous and fabricated statistics.

    Put the blame for high premiums where they belong: on the insurance companies. They charge exorbitant rates for their products without there being a nexus between cost and reality.

    Without having contingency lawyers I would never have had the chance to have my rights represented…PERIOD! Insurance attorneys are paid by the hour and if the common man gives up his rights to justice, he’ll lose access to the court system. Law is the foundation of our country, without it we will be ruled by tyrants.

  44. Mike Bryant says:
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    Kerry , I’m not sure that it will matter to you, but I can assure you that the lawyers here at the Injuryboard very much cares about Justice. All of us, spend a lot of time each day explaining to people why they don’t have claims. You see, frivolous claims don’t make us or anyone money. Claims that cost more to peruse then would be recovered are not viable. People call all the time with horrible stories of mistreatment or neglect but not actionable claims. We talk to them and keep them out of the system.
    A man recently went to the doctors and may have been discriminated against because of not being able to speak English or maybe the staff just didn’t care. He was sent home with no tests and only because his son cared was driven to another hospital. He had an appendix on the edge of bursting. They fixed him. Big claim if he goes home and dies, but his family is so much better off still having their loved one. I’m happy for them and had the job of explaining why the system wasn’t there for a case. We do that all the time.
    If you were to accept any of your numbers as true, answer me how caps solve that problem. I guess, one of the butchers out there (and numbers suggest that most of the malpractice is done by very few doctors) could sleep well knowing no matter what he does to someone there’s a maximum dollar risk, but don’t you think that guy is working the system in a lot more ways then that? That’s the person that the system should spit out

  45. kerry willis says:
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    IF attorneys were responsible and policed their own system then the NEJM 2006 wouldn’t have found that 40% of actions had no merit. Insurance rates are a product of claims and epenses. Most staes med mal companies are mutals and are owned by The Docs they insure. The premiums between the for profit and mutuals vary verry little. And Mike I’m sure it will not matter to you but we can’t run our country by annecdote and avoid having the money to take of every American. SO Mike do you do 10% or more of your gross billings pro bono

  46. up arrow

    I have been a trial lawyer for forty three years and have a nephew, a brother-in law, and have a family filled with physicians. I have never sued a doctor for medical negligence, but I’ve sued other trial lawyers. I say this to emphasize that I’m not biased in my view of so called tort reform in the soon to be health care legislation.
    The hard facts are that over 90,000 patients a years die from medical negligence alone in hospitals in the U.S. This does not include nursing homes,outpatient surgical facilities and non-emergency clinics. One can only wonder how many millions, yes millions, of people are caused serious disabilities, amputations, disfigurements,and other serious and permanent complications from administration of and/or the prescription of the wrong medication or a missed diagnosis. The U.S. spends more more money on medical health care in the U.S. today than any other country in the world, but the standard of medeical care ranks fafr, far below the other developed countries in the word. Not only is this shocking, it is an outrage. Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and a multitude of other medical stalwarts are researching and revealing the tragic consequences and causes of this disgraceful and intolerable situation.
    The insurance industry and many doctors, certainly not all,( statistics reveal that approximately ten percent of physicans committ approxiamately ninety percent of medical negligence) would have the public believe that doctors are going to quit practicing if there is not legislation to prevent them being sued or at least limit the amount the victim can be awarded by a jury. This hoax has been perpertrated in many of our states resulting in a fearful public, which in turn pressures state legislatures to give doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. limited liability for negligence. Now they are trying to do the same thing on a national level through the same old outright lies and fear tactics they used in states like Mississippi and Texas. Reform is needed the areas of insurance reform and the reform of fees paid to physicians by the federal government. I remember years ago listening to doctors complaining about the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid. Just as now the insurance industry conned them into believing it was going to cause socialized medicine and doctors’ incomes were going to drop drastically. Well, the years have shown that not only has the practice of medicine not been “socialized”, but doctors’ incomes have increased dramatically. When was the last time you heard about a physician suffering from a lack of money? Medicare and Medicaid were a bonanza for doctors! Why? Because doctors were guaranteed payment of all their bills. Why are unnecessary tests run by physicians? Well, it’s not because they’re afraid of lawsuits; it’s because the government pays for them almost without question. It’s time for the truth: doctors’ make huge amounts of money by having unnecessary tests run. Further if ten percent of doctors commit ninety percent of physician’s negligence why don’t the doctors’ themselves discipline these perpertrators of pain and suffering. After all, they have taken an oath to
    ” First, to commit no harm”, but yet doctors fail to disclose incompetent colleagues who cause insurance rates to skyrocket. Yet instead of dealing with the incompetent doctor through the various licensure boards and associations they stand silently by and wait and scream at their victims and lawyers. Doctors’ pay for medical insurance based on their field of practice; in other words, a doctor in one field such as family practice usually pays an amount different from a neurosurgeon and the neurosurgeon pay a different amount from a cardiologist, etc. However, ALL those in the same field usually pay the same insurance premium whether they have benn sued for medical negligence ten times or never. Should the family of a patient who died because the doctor was drunk or looped on drugs have no right to
    recover full damages from the doctor because othe doctors complain that the insurance company is going to raise their premiums? Shouldn’t the doctors demand that insurance companies charge premiums based on the INDIVIDUAL doctor’s performance and not that of the incompetent ten percent? Why should the doctor have to pay higher premiums for other doctors’faults. It’s time the good physicians get the bad doctors out of medicine and scream with outrage at the insurance industry rather than their victims!
    Medicine is a highly profitable profession and whatever happens in the new healthcare legislation all the doctors will continue to work and get extremely well paid treating the same patients in the same places, but hopefully without the bad doctors and without being the dummies while the insurance companies continue to use front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the ventriloquists.
    Jon Swartzfager

  47. Mike Bryant says:
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    Free legal help? Sure, easily, but so what? Does the answer change your view somehow? There are many lawyers that do a ton more then I do. There are people of all professions that do. I have great respect for them and contribute in many ways with my own time and financings to many of their causes. But again so what? I don’t do any of that to impress anyone, nor do I hold myself as anyone better because of it.
    As to what matters to me, I understand the point quite well. People don’t want to talk about real examples because there about real people. Those aren’t made up numbers. And read the example again, I’m not saying they should have a claim. I actually am very happy they don’t. But, I was the one that had to explain it to them.
    The study that you speak of is the one that said merit less claims receive $313,000 on average. Are you kidding me? That goes along with the study that called all surgeries unsuccessful because people went home with pain. Simply ridicules.
    Minnesota has a great system with low premiums and great health care. No caps at all. The system is protected with expert affidavits and protection for the patient.

  48. Kerry Willis says:
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    You do know that the mistakes sudy showed that rarely was the Doctor the cause of the mistakes.

    Just so you know, most Doctors don’t own the equipment that the tests are run on and are prohibited by Federal law from profiting from the tests they run.

    I’m perfectly willing to talk about individual cases. I saw one recently without merit get 9 million against a Doctor with no culability in the case….so much for the 330k. But its an anecdote and not representative of how the system works.

    But feel free to propose different reforms. Clean up the 40% of filings that don’t have merit and I suspect there wouldn’t be a problem

  49. up arrow

    Kelly. I am interested in the facts of one the cases you refer to:

    “I saw one recently without merit get 9 million against a Doctor with no culability in the case”

    What are the facts that convince you that the doctor was clearly not at fault. A lot of people are starting to follow this discussion and you have a chance to show us all some real facts about what is going on, not just by saying “I saw” and then not telling us any more. I also think it would help to explain your background so we can understand how you can look at the facts of a medical situation and say whether a doctor was negligent. I can’t do that. I am an attorney and the rules of the courts require me to get a medical doctor in the same profession with appropriate credentials to testify under oath that the other doctor performed below the medical standard of care. I wonder how you can do that? Are you a doctor or a nurse?

    Anyway, tell me about that case. I want to know and everyone is waiting.

  50. RC Fillmore says:
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    Senator McCaskill said it best several months ago, in her state of Missouri. They have the stringest tort reform in Missouri, including caps on damages restricting injured patients from being compensated adequately, yet the costs of healthcare and health insurance have not slowed at all. Now if the Doctors would concede that what they relly want is to never be accountable for their acts that negligently harm patients, at least they could be honest about it. Lawyers are routinely disciplined and disbarred for negligent conduct. It is amazing how few physicians are disciplined for negligently causing harm to their patients.

  51. kerry willis says:
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    You guys are great now poiticians are our source. A wise man might oberve that costs are incresing due to an increase in demand for services. Why would antone think tort reform would decrease cots. Solving the defensive medicine problem as part of heathcare reform will help control cost.-t will prevent unnecessary costs nothing more…but when that cost is a hundred billion a year and the alternative is cutting benefits for the elderly to pay for reform, I’m ok with it.again propose your own reforms to eliminate the 40 percentof frivalous claims and docs will quit asking for tort reform. Pretty funny when you say 5 percent of docotrs are bad. But attorneys can misfile and its acceptable

  52. Gil Webber says:
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    Kerry:
    An expert affidavit threshold hearing will solve the 40% problem, but more importantly:

    Doesn’t the 9M jury award say something about the general public’s view of insurance companies, i.e. the wheel is really rigged in their favor.

    Would doctors consider an informed consent type of waiver on specific high end procedures from patients as a starting point in curbing such costs?
    As a small town country lawyer usually earning less than 50K per year, I haven’t handled any large PI claims and never a medmal, but I know as do most people here that it costs a lot to finance even a simple case. Insurance companies are our common enemy, putting caps on tort cases will only make them an insurmountable one.

  53. Facebook User says:
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    It is interesting that everyone thinks that us doctors get kickbacks or profits off of ordering all these unnecessary tests. The truth is I don’t get a dime off of ordering mammograms, ultrasounds, EKG’s, outside consults, CT and MRI scans. We DO NOT order tests to make money off of patients. But in some cases we do order tests to stay out of the court room.

  54. up arrow

    Thanks Dr. Norgard. I talk to my own doctor friends about this subject and so far they tend to say that every test they order has a medical reason and that none are done just to avoid a lawsuit. You are the doctor and I respect your opinion on this so can you give a specific example of a test that is ordered that has no medical justification but is done solely to avoid a lawsuit? If that is the case then I’ll help get the word out on it and try to correct the situation. What a lot of doctors don’t realize is that the standard of care for testing is set by doctors and medical organizations, not the courts or lawyers. And if I take a case to court in Hawaii I have to have a medical certification prior to filing suit from a doctor in the field, that says the defendant doctor or hospital violated the standard of care. Of course, doctors hate being sued. Very few are ever sued but they hear the stories and live in mortal fear of a lawsuit. When I show them the actual statistics on medical malpractice in Hawaii they are usually shocked because they have been hearing nightmaree tales for years about crazy lawsuits and ruined careers. To err is human. To avoid or denty responsibility is a sin.

  55. Dennis Brotman says:
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    Industry protectionists call for “Tort Reform” in the same way advocates of Jim Crow laws blamed “outside agitators” for standing up for civil rights. Suits for medical malpractice protect the public and do not account for even one tenth of one percent of the $2.5 Trillion dollars we spend on healthcare. Those who cry out for “Tort Reform” do so as a diversionary tactic on behalf of those who are stealing premium payments from all of us.
    We spend more than twice other industrial countries, per capita. In the age of Bernie Madoff, Enron, Worldcom, Subprime Mortgages, Fannie Mae, Wall Street Bailouts, The Iraq War, and Blackwater, it is a safe assumption that if we found the off shore accounts and the Swiss Bank accounts where the premium dollars probably go, we would not have to raise any more funds for healthcare than we already do.
    We hear about “waste, fraud, and abuse”, but there is a wave of hospital bankruptcies and reimbursement rates for doctors are shrinking. If the money is not going to the hospitals and to the doctors, it is going elsewhere.
    When we hear the term–“Insurance Fraud”, that should signify to us–“Fraud by Insurance Companies”.

  56. Mike Bryant says:
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    Kerry again uses the The 40 percent number???? That study included 313,000 dollar cases being called merit less. Sorry no matter how many times you repeat it, it’s not true. I don’t expect to change your mind, but I did give you the respect of answering your question.
    Dr Norgard, do we at least agree that someone gets paid for those tests? I would also submit that the suits actually only come when the test isn’t done and there was something that would have been found. That a eliminate of the proof is that the test should have been done. It’s why every medical visit isn’t just a whole group of thousands of tests.

  57. kerry willis says:
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    The 40% is based on a study published research in the NEJM. Its not based on how I feel or what I think its based on fact. You guys are demanding that Doctors clean up their house. Its you guys who need to clean up yours. Doctors by their nature are critical and perfectionist and given to big egos. ITs not that hard to find one to crticism the actions of another but I think the idea of merit panels or binding arbitration has some promise as do the idea of specialized courts such as we have with bankrupcy etc to deal with these cases are a good idea and should be considered.I’m preetty sure this is my last word as we aren’t changing any minds and you guys have proposed nothing to address or solve the problem.

  58. Facebook User says:
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    It is simply Amazing how much politics there is in everything

  59. Gerry McGill says:
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    Studies conducted by the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office have concluded that changes in medical malpractice laws will lead to practically no savings, and only limit the legal rights of patients severely or catastrophically injured through no fault of their own. Other studies published in medical journals state that 98,000 Americans die each year of preventable hospital and medical errors. This makes medical errors the sixth leading killer of Americans.

  60. Joan Petty says:
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    Obama’s Healthcare Reform bill, should include Tort Reform in it because everytime Congress tries to rewrite the Heaothcare bill, They ignore and delete Product Liability for Prescription drugs. They do it intentionally to protect the drug manufacturing companies by placing a shield of protection and immunity for killing and injury caused to the consumers by a defective prescription drug. This drives Medicare and Medicade and all the Insurance cost up. Congress knows there is NO Federal Law or State Law that can prosecute any prescription drug manufacturing company or make them accountable for all the murdering acts done from 1962 when Congress omitted Product Liability for defective prescription drugs while amending the FDA to FDCA ACT Public Law. They also included Preemption of the Law. So no time and No place in the Law can Prescription drug companies be prosecuted in a court of Law for outright murder, experimenting,or injury. The Drug Manufacturing Companies control the Courts and Congress and the News media. There is No Consumer’s Rights or Patient’s Rights or Civl Rights for any person who takes a defective prescription drug. There is NO Remedy for damages. If President Obama is really interested in cutting the cost of Medicare and Medicade he can do it by making the prescription drug manufacturing companies accountable and Reform by removing the Preemption Law for Prescription drugs and prosecute the real criminals. The Physicians take the trust and full faith of the drug companies and use the drugs for healing and treating illness. The Drug companies produce the drugs that can kill or cure mostly kill or make you sicker. They do not care because they do it for profit and pay insurance companies to cover the damages as cost for doing business. Volunteer settlements in the Courts as a Take it or Leave it amount and walk away from the damages as paying a fine for NO Contest plea. If drug companies are held accountable they would not fast track drugs and forge Scientific reports submitted with conflict of interest to the FDA.Tort Reform should not limit damages for killing and injury caused by defective Prescription drugs. It should be limited damages on malpractice for doctors and hospitals because most of the time if there is malpractice it is an open and shut case.Malpractice cases are bread and butter for the lawyers and they go for the deep pockets. The big deep pockets are the prescription drug companies. Except there is NO Law. No Federal Law and NO State Law. Show me the Law that can prosecute for their criminal acts.

  61. Joan Petty says:
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    Obama’s Healthcare Reform bill, should include Tort Reform in it because everytime Congress tries to rewrite the Heaothcare bill, They ignore and delete Product Liability for Prescription drugs. They do it intentionally to protect the drug manufacturing companies by placing a shield of protection and immunity for killing and injury caused to the consumers by a defective prescription drug. This drives Medicare and Medicade and all the Insurance cost up. Congress knows there is NO Federal Law or State Law that can prosecute any prescription drug manufacturing company or make them accountable for all the murdering acts done from 1962 when Congress omitted Product Liability for defective prescription drugs while amending the FDA to FDCA ACT Public Law. They also included Preemption of the Law. So no time and No place in the Law can Prescription drug companies be prosecuted in a court of Law for outright murder, experimenting,or injury. The Drug Manufacturing Companies control the Courts and Congress and the News media. There is No Consumer’s Rights or Patient’s Rights or Civl Rights for any person who takes a defective prescription drug. There is NO Remedy for damages. If President Obama is really interested in cutting the cost of Medicare and Medicade he can do it by making the prescription drug manufacturing companies accountable and Reform by removing the Preemption Law for Prescription drugs and prosecute the real criminals. The Physicians take the trust and full faith of the drug companies and use the drugs for healing and treating illness. The Drug companies produce the drugs that can kill or cure mostly kill or make you sicker. They do not care because they do it for profit and pay insurance companies to cover the damages as cost for doing business. Volunteer settlements in the Courts as a Take it or Leave it amount and walk away from the damages as paying a fine for NO Contest plea. If drug companies are held accountable they would not fast track drugs and forge Scientific reports submitted with conflict of interest to the FDA.Tort Reform should not limit damages for killing and injury caused by defective Prescription drugs. It should be limited damages on malpractice for doctors and hospitals because most of the time if there is malpractice it is an open and shut case.Malpractice cases are bread and butter for the lawyers and they go for the deep pockets. The big deep pockets are the prescription drug companies. Except there is NO Law. No Federal Law and NO State Law. Show me the Law that can prosecute for their criminal acts.

  62. up arrow

    The role of Big Pharma, as Joan aptly points out, in hurting people is due more attention from Congress. But at the end of the day Big Pharma can get a legislator “un=elected” and THAT is alkl that matters in Congress.

  63. Mike Bryant says:
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    Affidavits, less filings,low premiums and a great health care system . A system that works in Minnesota and still protects consumers rights. Yep, didn’t suggest a thing.

  64. Joan Petty says:
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    Just can not resist. Has anyone followed up on the Terrorism Act that took place when Merck put cyanide Poison in the drinking water at West Point,PA. The way I understand the US Newswire Merck caused a extensive fish kill and caused the Philedelphia water department to temporarily shut down its drinking water operations. The US Attorney General said Because when you get right down to it no one should have to wonder,when they walk into the kitchen for a glass of water if what they are about to drink is going to make them or their children sick from cyanide poison.
    I understand in December 2007 Merck was ordered to pay and provide a $10 million dollar system to prevent future dangerous discharges at their facility. In addition they will pay $9 Million for extensive environmental projects and penalties for civil damages for past violations divided as follows $750,ooo to the United States: $750,000 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and $75,000 to Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
    Here again Merck violated Terrorist Act was never charged for a criminal prosecution but was settled that Merck violated the Clean Water Act with several discrete discharges that caused numerous pass through and interference violations.
    Cyanide dumpted in the drinking water is a Domestic Terrorism. If we had Tort Reform and the Legislators in Congress would remove Preemption of the Law that protects these criminals They could be prosecuted for such acts. The next time it could be your children getting a dose of cyanide poison. Under the Product Liability Fairness Act All products are included except Defective prescription drug manufacturers. Tell me something is Merck manufacturing the H1N1 Vaccines?

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    Funny. Did anyone notice the earlier Comments that all used the phrase: “…..if this wasn’t serious, it would be funny, but ….”. This is what Grover Norquist and Rove and that Orwellian bunch of brain-washers do every week. They disseminate a “message” to all of the radical right talk show hosts and operatives like all of the FOX News entertainers (can’t use the word journalism with those folks!). then all week it is repeated and repeated and repeated. I am not a betti8ng person but I’ll bet the same insurance companies that paid people to go to the health care town hall meetings and scream obscenities also came up with the little phrase “…. mif this wasn’t so serious, it would be funny …” when someone like writes the truth and shows the independant evidence from the medical profession to put a lie to the tort reform scam. Joan, I’m not suggesting that you are doing that. You are just funny! Or actually the phrase does apply. I If Merck making H1N1 wasn’t so serious it would be funny. Take a look at a series of articles i wrote on H1N1 and the Commenters to those stories also showed a his of the viruses that is mind boggling:

    “Swine Flu Crisis Involves Huge Health Controversy and Probably Another Cover-up”

    http://honolulu.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/swine-flu-crisis-involves-huge-health-controversy-and-probably-another-coverup.aspx?googleid=261844

    Thanks Joan! You brightened ny day. I am going Blog on the Merch story!

  66. Joan Petty says:
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    Done that and been there, I have gone through the whole court system with two cases and got kick,threatened, abused and disgraced because I wanted Justice for All, Equal Rights to Redress the Courts and got hit with a blank wall. Merck and others in the same business are there for profits and the best interest is not the innocent consumers. I can say first hand the information is the truth. My Grandson lives near West Point,PA and works in the area everyday. For years he has worked for Brinks. I want to go further, I have 2 wonderful doctors who are the best and they know what I have gone through. Their main interest is their patients and their care. I worked in the hospital before I got poisoned by Vioxx. It is not easy to seek justice in these courts with out Product Liability for defective Prescription drugs. I am glad I made your day. Thanks! I have to live with Merck everyday and I pay dearly for my health that was distroyed because they plotted and Frauded the public with no warnings just to make lots of profits. I live just like others, Dammed if I do and Dammed if I Don’t take a hand full of prescription medication just to keep going.I one of those who has 2 strikes against me now. My age and my damaged body. What else is there to live for? I have been involved with Merck for 10 years and I am still waiting for their volunteer settlement criminal fine that pays off for the cost of doing business.Make My DAY Wayne.

  67. kerry willis says:
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    pretty good piece about the costs of defensive medicine and the results of Tort Reform. From AJC

    Georgia is among the states that has led the way.

    In 2005, the Georgia legislature passed comprehensive medical liability reform.

    The centerpiece of the reform is a $350,000 cap on noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.

    These kinds of damages are inherently difficult to estimate in dollar terms and add tremendous uncertainty to medical malpractice cases. The cap represents a social compromise.

    While it would be nice to say that pain and suffering damages should be limited only by jurors’ sympathy, the Georgia legislature decided that a limit must be put in place to ensure access to quality health care for its residents.

    Available evidence suggests the reforms are working. The Georgia Medical Association reports that doctors’ medical liability insurance costs have gone down 18 percent since reforms were enacted, offering much-needed relief from skyrocketing premiums.

    Opponents of tort reform are quick to cite statistics stating that medical liability represents only 2 percent of overall health care costs.

    But these statistics fail to take into account the high cost of “defensive” medicine — ordering extra tests and procedures, primarily to limit one’s vulnerability to medical malpractice lawsuits.

    President Obama mentioned that he’d “talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs.”

    Indeed, there is no doubt that defensive medicine does contribute to unnecessary costs, and that those costs are staggering.

    A 2008 study found that 83 percent of Massachusetts doctors admitted to practicing some kind of defensive medicine.

    The researchers conservatively estimated $281 million in unnecessary physician costs and over $1 billion in excessive hospital admissions in Massachusetts alone.

    In 2004, Duke University researchers estimated nationwide defensive medicine costs at $70 billion a year — a sum that would pay for nearly Obama’s entire health plan

  68. Joan Petty says:
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    Thanks Kerry Willis for your information, You have done some homework. I can tell you from experience that I have with “Tort Reform” and “Malpractice” They are two different things.
    My son is a victum of the Military Service. He is a Vietnam Vet. He was injured during the time of a NOT DECLARED WAR” BUT A CONFLICT AND POLICE PROTECTION” He was thrown from a truck that rolled over on him and nearly killed. For 37 years he tried to get his broken back fixed by our government VA Hospital. He furnished medical records after medical records, evidence and much more, Finally a year ago the VA Administration reconized his injury and he got the needed surgery. He had one of the best surgeons who did the procedures. took 15 hours in the VA hospital.
    The free operation to repair the spine was very difficult. Presently, the VA Administration in Washington, is now on the case. I sent a 19 year old very bright and healthy young man off to defend the Constitution as obligated. He served his country very well and in the process was nearly killed. The US Government promises the care for such service. He was told the reason he had to waite for a year plus 37 prior years to be cared for. The reason was told him. They are caring for the many Veterans that are returning from the present war and they have priority, also the Vietnam Conflict was not considered as an ACT of war. His claim was being pushed back further and further. It was then and only then did our Congressman got involved.I can tell you from experience that there is not enough VA hospitals or Doctors to care for the volume of Veterans that are injured and damaged from experiments ordered by Congress let alone the battle scars and sleepless nights of fear and threats on their life all in the name of “Freedom” Tell me this whose ‘FREEDOM?” the cost is enormous and we pay over and over and more and more. The Legislators in Congress who write the laws of this land have gone wild with their “power of persuation” and “indoctrination.” The “Big Pharma”controls the Congress,Courts, and news media. The people are the last to know. “Freedom is in Danger.”As the English would say there is “NO MORE BLOODY MORE.”

  69. Kerry Willis says:
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    Joan
    Regardless of the govenrment,I honor your son for his serivce to our country. He should be regarded as one of our heroes and given the care he was promised by our government. Its not the first promise that was broken to a Vet. I have had similar experiences with people I have helped get the care they need as well. Its one of the reasons I support heathcare reform. We need to honor our promises to our veterans in a better manner than what they are treated currently. We spend 40 billion dollars a year to care for a few million vets . We spend 40 billion a year to take care of all the federal employees and their families. We obviously could take care of the Vets in a better system and provide them the care they are promised at a lower cost in their own communities. We have to be able to look at things from the standpoint of what’s best for everyone rather than what’s best for me. I don’t trust the government to do the right thing all the time and neither do many physicians whcih is why we need tort reform to give the healthcare system the reassurance it needs to function properly without interferance from the govenrment. Unfortunately while we can argue, this link is to an article about Medicare advantage plans and the government’s dealings with them.The Obama administration has issued a gag rule and denied them their free speech rights under our Constitution. Yet another reason to give reform a jaundiced eyefor all the same reasons of your post.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-us-health-care-overhaul-medicare,0,1506314.story

  70. Mike Bryant says:
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    Does that honoring of a son include the cap on the sons value? Premiums better go down with a cap, you have given them a maximum cost no matter what damage they do to someone. Take away all tort rights, I’m sure the insurance companies can find some kind of savings there also. So let’s think through the logic of a cap dropping defensive medicine. I guess it’s “I no longer care the most it can ever cost me is X.” It’s cost benefit analysis on people lives that is unconstitutional and unfair to the consumer. Minnesota has better care and a better system.

  71. Joan Petty says:
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    Kerry, In case you would like to know my son has a chest full of medals. Encluding one special medal from the Thailand Ambassador for saving the Ambassador’s life while he was being fired upon from some Terrorist. When he was stationed in Thailand He was in the Military Police and often was in the middle of Terrorist Attacks in the middle East during the Vietnam Police Action. The Undeclared War that killed and injured many young men who were not reconized as heros only to return home to a different type of battle.”Agent Orange.” A deadly compound Chemical that is produced by several drug companies.Many of our own militery was exposed to the spraying and handling of this dangerous poisen and are now dying from cancer and many illness that has caused a straign on Veterans care for 37 years. There is a real need for Tort Reform in the Healthcare Reform bill that will insure care for Prevention and Accountability.Many Militery was exposed to “Agent Orange” without chemical training or proper protection. They were exposed without any training or knowledge of this dangerous poisen I know for a fact my son stood guard while the Liquid was loaded into plans that was used to spray our ground forces who thought it would only kill the bush along the river. Instead it has killed many of our own.The Legilators should have provided Warning, Education and Prevention with Accountability when the Military ordered “Agent Orange.” Product Liability was not included because Congress Omitted it until after the fact.This was a undeclared war being conducted as a Police Action but was a real war without Accountability that has caused the Tax payer additonal burdens on the Healthcare and Medicare and Medicade.This was ordered and classified information so no one could have known until the operation was finally declassified several years later when the questions were ask, What about “Agent Orange?”

  72. Joan Petty says:
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    Mike, Are you suggesting we move to Minnesota?
    I understand the insurance rates are better than Florida. I really can not complain, I like the Medicare I have because I pay automatic out of my disability pension that my husband and I worked and paid into a pension fund for 33 years. So I could be provided for if something happened to him. I paid taxes like everyone else. I still pay for my drugs even though I get a discount rate. I still have to pay the extra cost that Medicare does not. I got no complaints about the cost for my healthcare. Where is the BEEF? I am one of those 76 year old seniors that would be limited and rashioned. Obama Healthcare Reform bill has to cut somewhere. It would be me. Take for instints. What is the economic health of Iraq? Rashioned welfare state administered by Saddam. I was just reminded that during the World War # no.2. There was rashion stamps passed out for GAS,sugar,coffee,women hosery,I still have some of those rashion stamps for GAS. All the rashioning was because all of our money was being used for materials for War. Our IRS is a Voluntary WAR TAX. You are right If everyone paid the same income tax we could all have paid medical care just like Minnesota. X. I am for less government also but I would be the first to go to the grave and there would be No tax paid for any healthcare. I would be stamped rashioned just like the everyone else. I was always told it takes money to make money. Tort Reform can be abused like the old and out of step marching to the Band of Corruption that has overridden our lives by controling and indoctrinating our thinking. Here is Life without Liberty to choose if the Healthcare Reform is passed as an Emergency Bill with the 51 Senate vote. We can choose our doctor, We can have healthcare of our choosing without being rashioned. There is No Free Lunch here. Somebody will pay. Your income tax will be the method of madness. There seems to be a problem here. Whose going to pay those taxes ? Not the rashioned welfare receivers who has lost their jobs and income along with their home and healthcare they can not pay taxes. Could this be another round robbin? Who else will be included in rashioning of the Healthcare? I am sure it will not be the Legislators because their healthcare will be paid for by your taxes if you have a job and can pay the taxes. If you are out of a job and no income you will be one of those who will be rashioned no matter where you live. The Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chiefs will be the ones who will pay the most in the long run. As for me, I like my Healthcare, Medicare and choose who I want to care for me when I am sick.Without Tort Reform being included in the Healthcare Reform bill your Constitutional rights can be removed without a majority vote. Your life can be changed and Liberty to choose can be gone.
    I choose Life with Liberty to keep what I got and worked and paid for. Check out that “Extenze Commerical.” The drug companies advetisement free samples for ” Bigger and Better.”

  73. Joan Petty says:
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    Mike, Are you suggesting we move to Minnesota?
    I understand the insurance rates are better than Florida. I really can not complain, I like the Medicare I have because I pay automatic out of my disability pension that my husband and I worked and paid into a pension fund for 33 years. So I could be provided for if something happened to him. I paid taxes like everyone else. I still pay for my drugs even though I get a discount rate. I still have to pay the extra cost that Medicare does not. I got no complaints about the cost for my healthcare. Where is the BEEF? I am one of those 76 year old seniors that would be limited and rashioned. Obama Healthcare Reform bill has to cut somewhere. It would be me. Take for instints. What is the economic health of Iraq? Rashioned welfare state administered by Saddam. I was just reminded that during the World War # no.2. There was rashion stamps passed out for GAS,sugar,coffee,women hosery,I still have some of those rashion stamps for GAS. All the rashioning was because all of our money was being used for materials for War. Our IRS is a Voluntary WAR TAX. You are right If everyone paid the same income tax we could all have paid medical care just like Minnesota. X. I am for less government also but I would be the first to go to the grave and there would be No tax paid for any healthcare. I would be stamped rashioned just like the everyone else. I was always told it takes money to make money. Tort Reform can be abused like the old and out of step marching to the Band of Corruption that has overridden our lives by controling and indoctrinating our thinking. Here is Life without Liberty to choose if the Healthcare Reform is passed as an Emergency Bill with the 51 Senate vote. We can choose our doctor, We can have healthcare of our choosing without being rashioned. There is No Free Lunch here. Somebody will pay. Your income tax will be the method of madness. There seems to be a problem here. Whose going to pay those taxes ? Not the rashioned welfare receivers who has lost their jobs and income along with their home and healthcare they can not pay taxes. Could this be another round robbin? Who else will be included in rashioning of the Healthcare? I am sure it will not be the Legislators because their healthcare will be paid for by your taxes if you have a job and can pay the taxes. If you are out of a job and no income you will be one of those who will be rashioned no matter where you live. The Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chiefs will be the ones who will pay the most in the long run. As for me, I like my Healthcare, Medicare and choose who I want to care for me when I am sick.Without Tort Reform being included in the Healthcare Reform bill your Constitutional rights can be removed without a majority vote. Your life can be changed and Liberty to choose can be gone.
    I choose Life with Liberty to keep what I got and worked and paid for. Check out that “Extenze Commerical.” The drug companies advetisement free samples for ” Bigger and Better.”

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    Thanks again Joan for sharing your thoughts. I am trying to make sure all of the facts come out. I am very interested in the concern over how medical care works in other countries. hasn’t a lot of that been proven to be false information made up by the big insurance companies to scare everyone? I mean have you Joan, or anyone for that matter in this discussion on my little Blog checked out the true facts? I did write a Blog on it in the past and I’d be interested in whether what I reported answers your questions just about health insurance in other countries.

    “Myths About World Health Care By Big Insurance”

    http://honolulu.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/myths-about-world-health-care-by-big-insurance.aspx?googleid=269836

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    I am still waiting for any doctor or insurance company to write a Comment on the 98,000 deaths each year from preventable medical errors. If the airline industry had a record like that we wouldn’t be entertaining their request to limit their liability for the deaths. We’d be shutting down the ones that are causing the deaths. I mean the amount of death due to negligent doctors each year amounts to a couple of fully loaded 747’s crashing each week. Why are we even talking about tort reform until these folks address their safety record. Take the spotlight away from taking the rights away from the injured and put it on the negligence that is causing these problems. The anesthesiologists did that and reduced the number of injuries and death. They also reduced medical malpractice cliams. This is the alternative to tort reform that the rest of our society lives by – just not medical doctors. I cannot believe that not one doctor will write in and even concede that there is a problem. This head in the sand approach makes the complaining about lawsuits absurd. Am I missing something. This would be funny it wasn;t so serious!

  76. Kerry Willis says:
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    Ms Petty
    I’ve spent many hours trying to help our Agent Orange Vets get the benefits they deserve. We need to keep our promises to our Vets and provide them with the care they need. I’ll add your son to my personal list of heros and I agree with your post. If our government causes a problem for our military men and women, they should step up and take care of them and their problems.

    Wayne I don’t know if you’re arrogant or ignorant. Every Hopital in this country spends hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year on trying to prevent errors. JCAHO addresses the issue yearly during their reviews and has made it a point of emphasis to reduce errors. These actions are participated in by the Physicians and staff. E prescribing is another ongoing action aimed at reducing errors. Its not like the problem is being ignored. But when you consider the nature of the problem and the vast numbers of people involved that can make mistakes and the number of decisions that are made, its a wonder that we do as well as we do now. The medical profession wants to prevent any death. I don’t know of any Doctor who went to Medical school to learn to kill people. We know that 40% of med mal suits lack merit. What is the Trail Lawyers association doing on a National basis to ensure that frivalous suits are prevented. Where’s your call for policing your own. Bad Docotrs are being removed from the medical profession at a greater rate than ever and discipilnary actions are at an all time high. Go clean up your own act and then your opinion about Medicine might be valuable to someone

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    Kerry: Ignorant? I’ll let others judge that and accept your condemnation. But ignore the fact that doctors and health organizations report 98,000 avoidable medical errors. Your response completely ignores that fact. Preventable does not mean that the doctor or hospital intentionally injured the patient. These are mistakes just like when a driver is distracted and rear ends the car in front or an attorney makes a mistake about the law in a case and the client gets hurt. Arrogant? All I have done is to report the facts and I will agree with you that any frivolous lawsuit should result in sanctions against the attorney and often does result in financial poenalty. First of all when I file a medmal case it I have to hire a team of doctors to serve as experts. I don’t use the hired gun types and so I go to the best doctors in the country. In a case a couple of years ago one doctor was the head of baby delivery at the biggest hospital in one of the Universities on the West Coast and another was from Johns Hopkins. They testified strongly to negligence in the delivery. The doctor who was sued denied the negligence and a jury ruled against us. The cost of hiring experts and going to trial was over $50,000. That came out of my pocket. My clients were poor people. Then the doctor sought reimbursement of the costs of the trial, another $45,000. I do not think a lawsuit is frivolous because one side loses. I accept the penalty that I suffered – losing the expenses of going to trial. So there are serious penalties for filing a dumb case. As to the JACHO standards and other standards for medical practice they are well intentioned and I support those efforts.

    There is a big difference between negligent and intentional. There is a big difference between frivolous and losing a case at trial because the jury rules in a close case the doctor was not negligent. Can you see that?

    It seems to me that as an attorney looking at what kind of cases are getting filed and you as a doctor looking at medical errors we should agree on most everything. I support the vast majority of the medical profession who never injure their patients and are never sued. I look at doctors who make mistakes that are due to laziness or carelessness not as evil wrongdoers but as real people just like all of us who made a mistake _ by accident _ and should take responsibility for it. My wife died of cancer last year and I spent the two years before that out of the practice of law going to cancer centers across the country where I basically lived. I met some of the most wondeful doctors and nurses in the world. I also met some bozos who were sloppy, and lazy and who didn’t really care. My legal career in this field has shown me the same variation in health care of my clients and I see the same is true in law where a bad lawyer can hurt a client, maybe even ruin their lives. I sue those attorneys if I am hired and if the attorney who made an avoidable mistake won’t take responsibility. If an attorney gropu lobbied for protection from lawsuits when they were negligent and hurt their clients I would oppse it as immoral.

    You sound like a good person who wants to help people and we need more people like you in our communities and so the name calling here bothers me. I started this exchange and then, right after the first Comments came in I wrote some sarcastic, nasty responses. A friend _ not an attorney _ read what I wrote and called me and said “wayne, that is not you. Those remarks are angry and inappropriate.” So I deleted my inappropriate responses and apologized for the angry responses.

    A lot of med mal cases that I get come from nurses who get sick and tired of seeing patients hurt or endangered by a particular doctor. They know.

    Injury Board is dedicated to prevention and safety more than lawsuits after someone is hurt. Thus the emphasis here on the 98,000 deaths that health groups like the Harvard School of Public Health say are avoidable. Let’s eliminate as many of those as possible and eliminate frivolus lawsuits as well. Its hard to imagine that the $70,000 I lost in taking what looked like a fairly strong case to trial isn’t enough discouragement.

  78. Kerry Willis says:
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    My apoligies as well. The internet doesn’t always relay the proper sentiment one has in remarks. 70 k is a pretty good reminder about the costs and risks of filing a medmal action. The bottom line that you have still ignored is that the Medical profession has and is actively making changes to their system to prevent errors and preventable deaths. What is the legal system doing to prevent frivalous actions. An injured patient who suffers because a Doctor didn’t care or was plain stupid should lose a med mal action. Clean your own house up and no one else will try.

    Gotta a proposal for you that might help.

    How about we establish merit panels in each state composed of three physicans and an attorney and require med mal actions be reviewed by a Physican in the same speciaity before allowing it to proceed?

  79. John Hopkins says:
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    Check any objective, reliable statistics. Tort reform helps the insurance companies, not the doctors. Tort reform certainly does not help the patients.

    We have merit requirements here in Florida and, although they work fine, I am not convinced they prevent frivolous lawsuits. Frivolous lawsuits are prevented through good business, if nothing else. The cost of pursuing a medical malpractice action is so significant that only an inexperienced or ignorant lawyer would pursue a case without merit. A difference of opinion, though, does not mean “without merit”.

    For what I think is a good analysis, see: http://www.searcylaw.com/blog/what-is-in-a-lawsuit/

  80. Mike Bryant says:
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    A panel would be interesting, would it actually cost less and mean even more cases? Maybe. Would there still be a call for caps? That would be a key. Although looking at the numbers that are actually filed you wonder why bother. But, I’m looking at a system that I think works. As for everyone moving here, No I don’t think we have the room. I’m just pointing out a state model that works. Although if I was sick and wanted top notch care , I would be thinking about the move or at least a visit.

  81. Joan Petty says:
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    To those who are Doctors,Lawyers and Indian Chiefs, This might be of interest. I learned that Merck’s vioxx killed 88,000 with this toxic ingredence manufactured intentionally not labeled because the Scientist and CEO’s knew this was a killer before they created it, and introduced it to the public with false and forged scientific reports. I can prove this with evidence from Merck’s own confidential documents. I don’t know if any doctors were sued for malpractice because of Vioxx was distributed by the doctors without warning labels or not. I have no way of knowing.
    What I do Know that many doctors were misled,misinformed,lied to and even giving perks to push this killer pill. 169,000 consumers were injured with heart attacks and strokes and many of their lives were recked because of it. Law suits hit the courts by the thousands. That is the only ones recorded. The amount of law suits were a heavy burden on the courts. Including the one in Louisiana, where the Multi-District Court in Washington DC sends class actions. I had first hamd experience with this action and hired an attorney to file in 2006 my case. The Court case stood for several months without anyone responding or doing anything but set on the docket.I was nearly killed, it was intentional and with malice. I know this. I ask the Florida Attorney General to file a criminal action on Merck & Co. et al and I was told they could not. Because, there is No Statutes in Florida or any State in the United States to prosecute them with. NO FEDERAL LAW,NO STATE LAW. Now I found out that our Congress Preempted the Law Public Law that forbids prosecution for intentionally killing or injury from a defective prescription drug. Judge Fallon wrote in Gomez v. Merck Order and Reason, outlined it all in black and white. At the time there was many lawyers who was filing cases in Product Liability civil cases and did not understand that the (MDL) Multi-District Court was directing the cases to different districts for the purpose to keep the work load even distributed. The first trials that began to surface was with jury and even though a jury awarded damages, and the case was full of merit. Merck appealed the case to the next court and the next court till it got a reversal and/or dismissed.Here is a criminal action being tried in a court of law, with merit being tried as a product liability without a law or statute for prosecution. All the Judge can do is take the case under advisement. No Law…A preempted Law.
    I am not attorney, I have study the laws and when I found this out I was really ticed off. Who is responsible for the intentional deaths of 88,000 innocent consumers? Why did this happen to so many consumers? For several years I investigated this and worked my way through the Judicial system to no prevail. You can not seek Justice when you have no Law to protect you from such actions when it comes to a defective prescription drug or medical devise. Mal practice you can not sue a drug company for malpractice or intentionally creating a killer drug or a contaminated vaccine. Impossible. I filed my own case against Merck and their CEO’s in the Federal Court because there was NO Law Inforcement Officer in the whole country take the case for me. They would only file a Product Liability case, No criminal prosecution. No Statute. No TORT, Doctors were call on and threatened and pressured with high power sales people employed to lie and misled them and the health providers.The expert witnesses were manytimes paid off including Judges and Congressmen who designed the FDCA ACT intentionally left out the most important words. No REMEDY for damages with the ommitting of Product Liability for Defective Prescription DRUGS and Medical Devises. Preempted the Law at the same time set on it and allowed many thousands now to be harmed and killed. How can anyone say there is No Place in a Healthcare Reform Act for TORT REfORM? My case was dismissed througn out and I was given a written thrashing and threatened with santions because I had No right to prosecute for my injury.My case was labled as “ONE WITHOUT MERIT.” The idea is for a panel of experts to review the case before it is filed would not make any difference with or without Merit. There is NO law in this case that will ever in any Court in the US prosecute for intenionally killing and injury with a Defective Prescription drug. Your suggestion is well taken but there can not be any just ruling on all cases without some law to back it up. Tort Action is mostly filed in Civil cases. Criminal Action is filed in Common Law Courts and prosecutable for what every statute is charged. When a Claimant makes a sworn affidavit that a criminal action was done a Prosecutor does the job for the State and the people at best interest and safty for the public. There is no proof of Action in any Merck cases. They win hands down.

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    Joan: Thanks for all of your passion and energy. You have seen a lot and you know a lot. I know that the court house is supposed to the place where Americans can take their grievances and get a jury of their peers to listen to the evidence and make the decision.Big companies and government officials don’t like that. They want to have their lobbyists make a call and get their way. My concern is that the laws are being written to shut the courthouse doors to folks like you and to eliminate the public from the process by eliminating jurors. How do they do that? they tell lies about the jury system and invent phrases like “lawsuit abuse” and “jackpot justice” and “tort reform” to cast shame on this noble institution. The rest of the world wants our jury trial system that gives regular people a say in what should happen with Merck and Vioxx and Agent Orange. I admire your spunk! You remind me of many of my clients who become outraged at a system that is being taken over by the big corporations.

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    John: Good thoughts.

  84. Joan Petty says:
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    Thank You InjuryBoard for letting me be a part of your Healthcare discussion. I love my Country, if we loose it we have no place to go to find the Freedom of privledge to embrace the Constitution. Our Courts have become Courts of Equity instead of Courts for Justice. I do cram studing researching.I have 4 Attorneys in my family. One is married to my granddaughter who is a prosecutor for the State of Florida. One is a Corp.Lawyer in Indiana, One is in South Carolina that does contracts for the race car industry, and one who writes the highpay contracts for a major basketball team. 3 nephews and 1 grandson. and believe it or not. they don’t talk to me about law and they will not discuss anything pertaining to law. I also have 1 granddaughter who is a dentist. Two is studing nursing presently, one granddaughter and her husband are both medical professionals that care for newborn babies and premees in a major hospital. and one granddaughter who manages a major chain of resturants. My grandson who lives in PA. now works for a commerical cleaning and Sanitzing company that sterlize hospital equiptment. They are all dedicated to their family and their profession. I also now have 4 GreatGrand Children. I am very proud of them all. I want to see them be able to care for their children in a safe and free Country. My greatest fear is that their futures are in trouble because of what is going on in our Country. I am no different than anyone else, All are created equal in the eyes of God. What is one of the problems causing the Courts to close their doors to people like me is they write their own RULES of PROCEDURES and inforce them as LAW. RULES are changed to suit the Court and the Judge because it is their rules that you have to abide by whether you are part of the ABA membership or just a Sovereign Citizen.When an individual Pro se steps into court they are discriminated against because the Lawyers (no Offence ment) have an air about them because they have spent years learning the ins’ and outs’ of PA.There are very few who want to bite the hand that feeds them. The Courts of Equity is their bread and butter. If a PA wants to go against the Judge or steps out of line they are many times sanctioned, held in contempt and barred from the practice. History will explain that our Judicial comes from the “King’s Law or English Law.” Our Common Law,has moved to Equity Law and very hard to understand if you don’t know your history. Not only American History but World History. There is another system I learned about while doing my own court cases that when the French and Indian War was being fought in this land and the Louisiana Purchase with the French and Indian Treaty was established under “Roman Law” and does not practice “English Law” This has been a challenge to follow “the Yellow brick road.” The Louisiana Purchase is still in effect.
    New Orleans Federal Court still uses the “Roman Law” that was established by Treaty a Treaty has more power than our United States Constitution and even superseds. The practice of “Roman Law” is also patterned from “Napoleon” who like Juluis Ceasar, and Henry II had a fear of cats. Napoleon also manuplated Macon’s bill. A document showing the ending of Embargo established by the “Embargo ACT”. America ended up restricted by trade with France only. Another curve in the yellow brick road was discovered that “Merck the Family of Merck & Co.Inc.” was one of Napoleon’s favorite friends, was appointed Governor. History tells how Merck the drugist was given a high office in Napoleon’s Government after Napoleon made himself Emperor of Germany. Thomas Jefferson’s first act of President purchased Louisana from Napoleon. You can find all this History website; WWW. Wiki Napoleon Bonaparte.Interesting History to know that Merck and Napoleon together ruled Germany, and established (1) of our forms of Law Practice for our Court in Louisiana. No wonder the majority of Merck’s class actions were sent to Louisiana Eastern District Federal Court. “History Repeated.” Keep your eyes on Education and not Indoctrination. “Freedom of Speech.”

  85. Joan Petty says:
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    Wayne, Good thought, but don’t count on it. The Legal Beagles will find away under the fence. That is why there are so many PA’s. The problem is the majority of our Representatives that write the Laws are not in the TORT Business. They take their directions and control from the American Bar Association. The Root of all evil starts in Congress, since the majority are educated Lawyers.How often have you heard of a Lawyer being sued for malpractice?

  86. Joan Petty says:
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    Gregg, Your opinion “Doctors have a license to Kill.” Don’t hold water. Common Sense will tell you ” Saving and helping any person who is ill or injured, is another paycheck for him. He does not want to kill the golden goose. If a doctor does order extra test and charge out ragious fees. Their efforts are to save lives not to kill. I can tell you first hand I have 2 wonderful doctors who have my best interest at any cost. I find it was their expert,experience,education that save my life under extreme conditions. I was legally dead, placed on a heart machine for 3 days and 3 nights, shocked back to life, and tenderly and expert nursing care for many weeks.There was many test ordered and done and help guide the staff through my recovery. For 5 years this went on after I started the journey back. My insurance cost was so much and I was no longer could afford it. My age was the only good thing because I was on Medicare. For several years I paid out of my pocket for prescriptions full price until 2007. The cost put me into a desperate circumstance, since I already had a dying huband who was a serious heart patient also. The Medicare and Medicade government sup. has helped me get through life. So I can argue on bothsides from experience. I was denied medical insurance because of my problem,The life insurance was so costly and my savings was gone. After working all my life and my husband, we had paid insurance till retirement from the companies we worked for. The preiums were affordable. We lost that when our illness and retirement process came about. There are many Americans who work and save and loose all their assets because of illness. Who ever is responsible, If it is Insurance, doctors or our legal system, There should be a overhaul of REFORM.This begins with the Law makers and our President. Take it or Leave it is not going to work unless we can work together.

  87. Joan Petty says:
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    Gregg, Your opinion “Doctors have a license to Kill.” Don’t hold water. Common Sense will tell you ” Saving and helping any person who is ill or injured, is another paycheck for him. He does not want to kill the golden goose. If a doctor does order extra test and charge out ragious fees. Their efforts are to save lives not to kill. I can tell you first hand I have 2 wonderful doctors who have my best interest at any cost. I find it was their expert,experience,education that save my life under extreme conditions. I was legally dead, placed on a heart machine for 3 days and 3 nights, shocked back to life, and tenderly and expert nursing care for many weeks.There was many test ordered and done and help guide the staff through my recovery. For 5 years this went on after I started the journey back. My insurance cost was so much and I was no longer could afford it. My age was the only good thing because I was on Medicare. For several years I paid out of my pocket for prescriptions full price until 2007. The cost put me into a desperate circumstance, since I already had a dying huband who was a serious heart patient also. The Medicare and Medicade government sup. has helped me get through life. So I can argue on bothsides from experience. I was denied medical insurance because of my problem,The life insurance was so costly and my savings was gone. After working all my life and my husband, we had paid insurance till retirement from the companies we worked for. The preiums were affordable. We lost that when our illness and retirement process came about. There are many Americans who work and save and loose all their assets because of illness. Who ever is responsible, If it is Insurance, doctors or our legal system, There should be a overhaul of REFORM.This begins with the Law makers and our President. Take it or Leave it is not going to work unless we can work together.

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    Joan and Gregg: I suggest everyone look at the website of Dennis Kucinich the Congressman from Ohio. He is one of the rare politicians in Washington D.C. who is not afraid of the insurance industry. He has a neat video where he talks about the facts of the public plan and dispels the myths and scare tactics (outright lies) that the opponents of public plan are spreading. http://www.kucinich.com

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    Believe it or not, Joan I sue lawyers just like anyone else if their negligence hurts their clients. Among trial attorneys like me we feel that getting rid of bad lawyers is a good thing to do and we know that the bar isn’t going to be effective at doing it. This has happened several times in Honolulu and the lawyers have either cleaned up their act or left town. Good riddance i say. I wish doctors felt that way. they testify for each other and I have even had a prominent Honolulu doctor admit to me that “he had to do it” when testifying in support of a clearly negligent doctor. I appreciate your thoughts.

  90. Dennis Harrison says:
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    Want an example of “TORT REFORM” – just look in detail at the sham of a “settlement” (it was a DEAL). Pharma, via Merck as a proxy took away the rights of litigants to go to court. Litigants were literally forced to accept the absolute peanuts and had no recourse. Merck pulled the strings, the PSC and large law firms, along with the courts were the puppets on the stage. As a result, the average heart attack victim received less than $100,000, and much less than that after legal fees and expenses. Subrogation was also paid by the litigants – absolutely ridiculous. The litigants were brow beaten, bullied, calls were not returned as the large law firms (especially) acted in a consistent disdainful manner. The large law firms, in collusion with the courts (and Merck) acted in a predatory, Oligopolistic way, crushing competition – frankly, we are at a time when the US needs to step in and break apart the large law firms who now have gained just way too much power. They do now wish to practice law, they wish to do highly paid, assembly line clerical work which is hardly worth even 10%; let alone 32%. If one understands the Vioxx MSA, and then has observed, in much detail what the litigants went through, one would realize it has been a shameful part of American Legal History. Ironically, the concept of assembly line processing Mass Torts has some merit, if done honestly with fairness to both sides. However the rules clearly and substantially favored the Defendants, who admitted, without admitting, that they did not warn that which they knew, as it would have deeply affected profits. “Private Settlement”, in which attorneys do not particpate in (but through a third party) are extremely dangerous, and the experimentation on humans will accelerate when pharma has finally gotten the litigation costs not to be a deterrent and to ensure honest development/marketing – and instead the “litigation” merely becomes a fixed costs at the end of the product life cycle.

    How would anyone like to be offered a net of about 50-70,000 on average for a heart attack? Doubt that many would.

    Finally, personally, I don’t find fault in physicians and surgeons – for the most part. Perhaps I have been blessed over my lifetime – HOWEVER, the ISSUE in TORT DEFORM is the all too powerful pharma industry in corrupt collusion with the large law firms and courts.

    The Vioxx victims, in spite of Merck’s own admittance (though as usual escaping criminal charges)were basically cut to shreds with the shameful tactics employed against them. It needs to stop or pharma will just feel free to put out shoddy products and keep making huge profits to then pay the litigation (i.e. end of product life cycle costs).

  91. Joan Petty says:
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    Wayne, I worked with Dennis Kucinich, when he was a young lawyer in Ohio. The Income Tax Repeal for Ohio and he was one of the legal group who helped go after the Repeal. He is also one that made a name for himself in Ohio polictics. One thing is we lost the vote and Ohio got the Income tax Increase anyway. After he went to Congress he got to spend the Tax Dollars that the Democrates passed on to the consumers. When you work on a State wide issue you get a BIG Education. Ohio went Bankrupt because many factories and jobs were lost and the income tax was imposed as a perminent income tax on the workers. The burdin is still on the workers and their pay checks. During the efforts for Repeal the Insurance Industry of Ohio donated thousands of dollars to the Democratic Governor supporting the Tax increase. Don’t be fooled by what you see, Republicans in Office are no different than the Democrats. What you see is what you get. They all like to spend the tax dollars and will do everything to get relected. I was one of the hard working people who co-ordinated 88 counties with 2 petitions trying to give the people of Ohio the right to vote with a ballot. Check out the State of Oregon who is presently doing a Income tax repeal.

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    Small world, Joan. I was once told that the ONLY thing an elected politician cares about is what can get them un-elected.

    Wayne

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    Sad and corrupt. I agree. But why won’t even the MSNBC and washingtton Post tell this story?

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    Sad and corrupt. I agree. But why won’t even the MSNBC and Washingtton Post tell this story?

  95. Joan Petty says:
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    Wayne, You don’t expect MSMBC to publish old news?
    The Vote tampering has been going on for a long time. Now they use the Witness and Challenger in the polls to watch the ballot. The fox watches the hen house while the fox steals the eggs. No matter which party is in power. They have control of the ballot box. I caught the ballots being changed and distroyed right in front of the Ohio State’s Attorney General, who by the way did nothing to prosecute or try to stop it even after it was brought to his attention. They just did a re-count. cover up and Corruption, The news media knows it. They are usually there when it happens. They just look the other way.

  96. Joan Petty says:
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    Wayne, You don’t expect MSMBC to publish old news?
    The Vote tampering has been going on for a long time. Now they use the Witness and Challenger in the polls to watch the ballot. The fox watches the hen house while the fox steals the eggs. No matter which party is in power. They have control of the ballot box. I caught the ballots being changed and distroyed right in front of the Ohio State’s Attorney General, who by the way did nothing to prosecute or try to stop it even after it was brought to his attention. They just did a re-count. cover up and Corruption, The news media knows it. They are usually there when it happens. They just look the other way.

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    Thanks Joan. You always make me smile even though the dubject is serious. I can’t believe your Dennis Kucinich connection!

  98. Joan Petty says:
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    Wayne, Governor Celeste, born in Cleveland,Ohio,
    The connection was Kucinich, and Voinovich all were for the Celeste Income Tax Repeal. They all gave the impression they did not want the Income Tax. Made a repretation for themselves as the good guyes while the same time was dealing from the bottom of the deck. my connection is I was there. Even X Governor Celeste, said Obama would get elected President. Do you think he had a crystal Ball? Why do you think they call Ohio the Heartland? It rally is not funny, but have a laugh on me. It is very serious, Sad and corrupt.

  99. Risa Lower says:
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    I agree with Wayne Parsons and Anthony Tarricone. Let’s stop this travesty. It seems to me that the US is worse than a third world country when it comes to medical reform. They have a reason; we don’t. Let’s stop creating issues that stop people from getting the medical help that is due them in this great, rich country; isn’t it funny that it is easier to get a fire arm than a mammography! Tort reform is not the answer to those who are dying. Help is – NOW. Reform is needed, and always has been – within the medical profession, no doubt within the insurance industry whose mantra could be “we’re there if you don’t need us”, and probably within the trial bar. But let’s save lives first, then sort through the secondary issues. This isn’t Salem, after all.

  100. M. Timberlake says:
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    I’m late to this party, but wish to comment on the Republican Party’s mantra of eliminating “frivolous lawsuits” and fixing the ”broken justice system” (so-called tort reform) as ways to significantly lower the cost of healthcare. (I use the term “Republican” rather than conservative because the political party we see today is the antithesis of conservatism. See the “Death of Conservatism” by Sam Tanenhaus (2009)). Factually, study after study shows that medical litigation amounts to less than 2% of all monies spent on healthcare and tort reform laws have little economic effect (see previous comments). My point speaks to blatant hypocrisy, i.e. the tort reform laws Republicans propose are an anathema to 2 (supposed) pillars of their platform – “free markets” and “personal responsibility.” To eliminate frivolous lawsuits Republicans seek to enact laws capping atty-client contingent fee contracts. To fix the “broken justice system” they propose capping jury damage awards. I submit that “free markets” and “personal responsibility” more than adequately control the number of frivolous claims and unsubstantiated jury awards. Attorneys represent injured persons in medical negligence claims on contingent fee contracts, the purest form of “free market” contract. The atty is compensated ONLY if their efforts result in benefit to the client. (Wouldn’t it be nice if corporate executive pay was also “contingent”?) The “free market” delivers the ultimate penalty to the contingent fee atty who does not a) accurately evaluate the defendant’s liability, b) overcome the best and brightest defense attys in the land, and c) convince a jury that the defendant was in fact negligent: Zero compensation for years of work. Not something one would do very often. Republicans also proclaim “personal responsibility” as the foundation of a free and just society (as opposed to “government responsibility”). They argue that the citizenry is qualified to make responsible decisions for self and family, to manage money wisely, to raise dutiful and productive children, to be accountable and trustworthy. Yet, according to these same Republicans, all of these qualifications instantly vanish when one becomes a juror in a medical negligence case. At that moment these same citizens lose all common sense, become utterly irresponsible, and lack the judgment/fortitude to say “no” to ANYTHING the plaintiff’s atty asks for! Sound duplicitous? Either drop the “fee market” and “personal responsibility” slogans, or leave the contingent fee and civil jury system alone.

  101. Joan Petty says:
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    M.Timberlake and R.Lower, Justice is not just putting a cap on Civil suits and neglence or Malpractice. These all have civil rights for jury trials. You are missing the point. Tort Reform in the Healthcare Reform Bill is needed because there is NO LAW for Product Liability for a defective Prescription drug or medical devise. You can not bring suit in a court of Law against a drug maker who produces a killer pill or killer vaccine that kills or damages any consumers. You are left with no remedy in the court system and your rights to sue is null and void. Congress omitted Product Liability for Prescription drugs and medical devise in 1962,from the FDCA Act. There is No Federal Law and No State Law. No statute to prosecute or make a prescription drug manufacturing company accountable. They are immune from prosecution. They fast track the drugs to put them on the market for profit, many times they know in advance the drug is dangerous and have in the past produced false scientific reports just to get the FDA to approve the drugs. The drug companies put profit ahead of safty for the consumers. As the result the insurance Companies pay for the damages as settlement out of court. No criminal charges are ever filed or prosecuted for such injury or killings. This was an example with VIOXX,killed 88,000 innocent human Consumers took VIOXX without proper label or warnings, It was fast tracked into the market and the company made billions of profit. This is why there is a need for Tort Reform. This was not malpractice, or neglect, but Product Liability. The only way a case can go to trial in the Court is a Civil Case for Product Liability,Because there is No law to prosecute for killing or injury with a Prescription drug. I hope I explained this clearly so you can understand. There is No remedy for any person injured or killed with a defective Prescription drug or medical devise. NO Law. Congress Preempted the Law and have continued to delete it for many years. intentionally and on purpose to protect the drug companies with a shield of immunity. This has caused Medicare and Medicaid along with insurance cost to steadly raise and the tax payer continues to pay while the prescription drug companies get bigger and more powerful and richer. Many Lawyers who have taken class action cases are finding out that they can not prosecute for lack of any Federal or State Statutes. They find themselves in a Civil Action and no remedy for loss of life. If you as a citizen kill or injure someone with your car you are held liabile for the death or injury.If you kill someone you could spend years in jail even though your insurance pays for the damages. You as the person held accountable. No drug company or their CEO’s has ever been charged for criminal acts of manslaughter, or injury. Civil actions only and they pay a criminal fine and do it again. The Legislators who are composing the Healthcare Reform bill have a problem when it comes to Tort Reform and the Healthcare Reform. If they include Product Liability for Prescription drugs and Medical Devises the Drug Companies will cut off their perks, and their campaign funds. if they don’t include Product Liability for Prescription drugs and Tort Reform, Their jobs are at stake and they could be removed from office come next election. No matter if they are Republican or Democrats. They are Dammed if they do and Dammed if they don’t.

  102. Joan Petty says:
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    M.Timberlake and R.Lower, Justice is not just putting a cap on Civil suits and neglence or Malpractice. These all have civil rights for jury trials. You are missing the point. Tort Reform in the Healthcare Reform Bill is needed because there is NO LAW for Product Liability for a defective Prescription drug or medical devise. You can not bring suit in a court of Law against a drug maker who produces a killer pill or killer vaccine that kills or damages any consumers. You are left with no remedy in the court system and your rights to sue is null and void. Congress omitted Product Liability for Prescription drugs and medical devise in 1962,from the FDCA Act. There is No Federal Law and No State Law. No statute to prosecute or make a prescription drug manufacturing company accountable. They are immune from prosecution. They fast track the drugs to put them on the market for profit, many times they know in advance the drug is dangerous and have in the past produced false scientific reports just to get the FDA to approve the drugs. The drug companies put profit ahead of safty for the consumers. As the result the insurance Companies pay for the damages as settlement out of court. No criminal charges are ever filed or prosecuted for such injury or killings. This was an example with VIOXX,killed 88,000 innocent human Consumers took VIOXX without proper label or warnings, It was fast tracked into the market and the company made billions of profit. This is why there is a need for Tort Reform. This was not malpractice, or neglect, but Product Liability. The only way a case can go to trial in the Court is a Civil Case for Product Liability,Because there is No law to prosecute for killing or injury with a Prescription drug. I hope I explained this clearly so you can understand. There is No remedy for any person injured or killed with a defective Prescription drug or medical devise. NO Law. Congress Preempted the Law and have continued to delete it for many years. intentionally and on purpose to protect the drug companies with a shield of immunity. This has caused Medicare and Medicaid along with insurance cost to steadly raise and the tax payer continues to pay while the prescription drug companies get bigger and more powerful and richer. Many Lawyers who have taken class action cases are finding out that they can not prosecute for lack of any Federal or State Statutes. They find themselves in a Civil Action and no remedy for loss of life. If you as a citizen kill or injure someone with your car you are held liabile for the death or injury.If you kill someone you could spend years in jail even though your insurance pays for the damages. You as the person held accountable. No drug company or their CEO’s has ever been charged for criminal acts of manslaughter, or injury. Civil actions only and they pay a criminal fine and do it again. The Legislators who are composing the Healthcare Reform bill have a problem when it comes to Tort Reform and the Healthcare Reform. If they include Product Liability for Prescription drugs and Medical Devises the Drug Companies will cut off their perks, and their campaign funds. if they don’t include Product Liability for Prescription drugs and Tort Reform, Their jobs are at stake and they could be removed from office come next election. No matter if they are Republican or Democrats. They are Dammed if they do and Dammed if they don’t.