Medical Malpractice News and Views


Welcome to our blog where we discuss current issues in medicine and law. We welcome your comments.

A Cautionary Tale.

August 13, 2018

Most patients trust their doctors.  They do more research into the restaurant for tonight’s meal than they do into the qualifications of the surgeon who is going to perform surgery on them.  This level of trust without any investigation can lead to disastrous medical malpractice which can sometimes be fatal. What follows is drawn from a big story here in the Phoenix area from 2008 but its lessons are just as important today as they were then.

As is often the case, the malpractice involved cosmetic surgery.  Cosmetic surgery is rife with problems.  It is a huge money maker and therefore attracts a disproportionate number of money-hungry doctors.  There is nothing to prevent someone with no training in cosmetic surgery from holding himself or herself out as a cosmetic surgeon and performing procedures.  This is what Dr. Peter Normann did.

Dr. Normann was an internist and an emergency room doctor.  He never took a residency in anesthesiology or in plastic surgery.  He did take a six day course in liposuction and breast augmentation.  With this meager training in hand, he began to sign up patients.

Although there appear to have been many victims who complained that he malpracticed on them, at least they were alive to complain.  Three of Dr. Normann’s patients were not so fortunate.  During the investigations into their deaths, it was discovered that Dr. Normann was performing complicated cosmetic surgery in an operating room at his clinic that did not have proper equipment to monitor his patients.  Dr. Normann was also using a massage therapist as his medical assistant for the operations.  He had no anesthesiologist to assist him with the anesthesia needs of his patients.  This recipe for disaster provided just that.

The first patient to die was undergoing a liposuction procedure.  When Dr. Normann discovered that the patient was having serious respiratory problems, he called 911.  The paramedic who arrived reported that the breathing tube, which should have been in the airway, was instead delivering oxygen into the stomach.  Small wonder that the patient was having respiratory difficulties.  When the paramedic tried to place the tube properly, Dr. Normann physically prevented him from doing so.  The patient died as a result of an overdose of anesthesia.

The second patient to die was undergoing a buttocks enhancement procedure, a procedure for which Dr. Normann had received no training.  The procedure involves the injection of fat into the buttocks.  Dr. Normann erroneously injected fat directly into a vein which carried it to the lungs and caused the patient’s death due to pulmonary embolism.  In trying to resuscitate his dying patient, Dr. Normann once again inserted the endotracheal breathing tube into the stomach instead of the airway.  Following this death, and with investigations underway at the Arizona Medical Board, Dr. Normann voluntarily suspended his medical license.

This voluntary suspension did not slow down Dr. Normann’s cosmetic surgery practice for long.  He hired a homeopathic physician to perform liposuction procedures at his clinic, despite the fact that the homeopathic physician was not trained for or licensed to perform the procedures.  While making rounds on post-surgical patients at his clinic, Dr. Normann discovered one of the liposuction patients to be in respiratory distress.  Dr. Normann could not successfully place the breathing tube into the airway and this patient died as well.

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Dr. Normann was charged and convicted of two counts of second degree murder and one of manslaughter arising out of the three deaths.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Next week I will discuss some of the things you should do before you let someone operate on you.

 

 

 

Posted in Arizona Medical Board, Doctors, Fee for Service, Fraud, Informed Consent, medical errors, medical ethics, Medical Malpractice, medical mistakes, Medical Negligence, Surgical Errors |

Why Your Health Care Costs Keep Going Up and Up.

August 06, 2018

As I have observed before, we in the United States pay the most for health care yet we rank well down the list of developed nations in terms of health care outcomes.  Why aren’t we getting value for the money we pay?  Why do our costs keep going up and up with so little improvement to show for the amounts we spend?  Hint:  it is not due to medical malpractice cases.  There are a few answers and the most significant of them involve greed.

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The Wall Street Journal has for years been doing some excellent research and writing on the subject of health care costs.  In its August 1, 2018 edition, it has a great article on the factors that drive our health care costs.  Here is a link to the article.  I recommend it highly.

According to the Journal’s research, by 1970 there was already about a 3% gap between what we in the United States spent on health care as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product and what was being spent on average by the other developed nations.  Today that difference is about 7%.  Considering the size of the GDPs involved, in actual dollars this is a huge difference.

Perhaps the most interesting of the graphs showing changes is the one showing “price growth since 2000.”  Since 2000, the cost of physician and clinical services has risen by about 23%.  By contrast, the cost of hospital care during the same time period has risen by 60%.  Topping that, however, has been the cost of prescription drugs, which has risen 69% since 2000.

It is no coincidence that the cost of hospital care has greatly increased at the same time hospitals are merging and gaining market share.  Increased market share means less competition between hospitals when they negotiate contracts with health insurance companies.  Hospitals are using this increased market share to negotiate higher and higher prices for the services they offer.

There are two important factors which enable hospitals to get away with this.  The first is that there is very little transparency in the cost of hospital services.  Even if you wanted to find out what a service cost before agreeing to be admitted to a hospital, you would have a hard time doing so.  While there may be published rate schedules, they are much like automobile sticker prices; no one actually pays that amount.  It is almost impossible for a consumer to find out what hospitals are actually agreeing with insurers to accept for a given service.  If you never know what participants in the market are charging for a product, there can be no competition among the providers.  The market works only when consumers know enough to be able to make informed choices.

The second factor is that most consumers are insulated from the actual cost of the care.  We don’t pay cash for the care we receive.  Most of us have some form of insurance and our insurer negotiates with the hospitals and pays the bills.  We get some confusing Explanation of Benefits that would be hard to interpret even if we tried to do so.  Since we don’t pay for the care directly, we are less sensitive to its actual cost.  As with the lack of transparency, everything deliberately takes place behind a curtain of secrecy.

Drug companies have taken advantage of many of the same factors to charge what the traffic will bear for their prescription medications.  They put ads on television to encourage patients to ask for the medicines from their physicians.  They pay physicians who prescribe their products and pay the most to those who prescribe the most.   They keep raising the prices and most of that increased cost is paid by our insurance companies, which keep increasing our premiums and we never know exactly why.

Finally, the medical industry, which includes the doctors, the hospitals and the drug companies, hire legions of lobbyists and make large contributions to elected politicians.  They do this because it works.  Politicians roll over for the industry.  There is no meaningful reform and consumers, who do not have the money to play this game, consistently come out the losers.

Get involved.  Do something or nothing will change.

Posted in Doctors, drug companies, Fee for Service, health, Health Care Costs, Health Insurers, Hospitals, Malpractice costs, Medical Costs, Medical Malpractice, medical malpractice cases |

More Doctors Behaving Badly

July 30, 2018

As I have often said, most doctors are caring professionals who would not dream of being disrespectful to their patients.  On the other hand, doctors are human and there are regular incidents of doctors behaving badly.  Sometimes their actions are not merely inappropriate but are shockingly so.  Here are some examples culled from various news reports.

The doctor who performed the endoscopy procedure that took the life of Joan Rivers allegedly snapped a selfie of himself and Ms. Rivers while she lay unconscious on the operating room table.  He was sued by the family for medical malpractice and, unsurprisingly, settled the case.

A New York surgeon carved his initials into the abdomen of a woman whose baby he had just delivered by Caesarean section.  As if that were not bad enough, it was apparently not the first time he had done it.  When he was called to account, his lawyer claimed he should not be held responsible because he had an Alzheimer-type disorder that affected his judgment.  If that were true, what is this man doing practicing medicine at all, much less operating on patients?

A medical student (starting early here) gave his girlfriend, a local exotic dancer, the severed hand of a cadaver.  She put it in a jar and kept it.

A surgeon had to place his hand into the uterine cavity of a Hispanic woman who began hemorrhaging after childbirth to try and stop the bleeding.  So far, so good.  Things went south, however, when the surgeon began to dance and sing “La Cucaracha” while his hand was still in the uterine cavity.

I was actually involved in a case once in which an anesthesiologist and a surgeon came to blows in the operating room over who was responsible for an injury to the patient.  The patient later died as a result of the injury.

Doctors and nurses occasionally steal painkillers intended for their patients.  One nurse who had stolen her patient’s painkiller told him to take his pain like a man and to quit complaining.

Surgeons sometimes operate when they are impaired due to alcohol or drugs.  One Phoenix surgeon was operating drunk when concerned members of the operating room staff called the police.  When the surgeon learned that the police were there, he fled the operating room and tried to drive away before the police apprehended him.  The question I have is, “How long had this been going on before some courageous staff members called the police?”  Surely, this was not the first time the surgeon had been operating while impaired.  He had been sued for medical malpractice many times before he was finally stopped and had his license revoked.  What took so long?

A surgical technologist at a Phoenix hospital was found to have been stealing patient’s painkillers and using them on himself.  As a bonus, it turns out that he had a blood disease which could have been transmitted to the patients in his care.  How does this guy get hired?

I could go on and on but you get the idea.  Be careful and watchful.  If you see something, say something.

 

Posted in Arizona Medical Board, Cesarean Section, disclosure of medical mistakes, Doctors, Hospitals, medical errors, medical ethics, Medical Negligence, Secrecy |

You Need A Good Malpractice Lawyer.

July 23, 2018

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From time to time over the years, John and I have written about the necessary elements of a viable medical malpractice claim.  There must be fairly clear evidence of medical negligence which caused a significant injury.  Doubts about the existence of the medical negligence or whether it caused the injury can be fatal to a malpractice claim.  Even if you have a strong claim, however, you need one more thing.  You need a good malpractice lawyer.

Medical malpractice claims are among the most complicated and most expensive claims an individual can be involved with in our civil justice system.  The Arizona legislature has gone out of its way to create special rules to prevent victims from getting the justice they deserve.  Many of these rules apply only to medical malpractice cases.  Familiarity with these rules is critically important.  Missing a deadline or failing to properly follow a rule can result in your case being tossed out by the judge.  It is very difficult for a lawyer, who may be a very good lawyer in other fields, to be familiar with the malpractice rules and follow them carefully, if he or she does not regularly practice in the area of medical malpractice.  This is not an area for dabblers.

In addition to knowing about the special rules and how they have been applied by the courts, a good medical malpractice lawyer must be very familiar with medical terms and procedures.  The defendants in a medical malpractice case will have gone to four years of medical school and usually have had a three year residency.  They may have also had a fellowship or two.  In all likelihood, these defendants will have forgotten more about medicine than most lawyers will ever know.  A lawyer who is not familiar with the practice of medicine, with the principles of anatomy, with medical terms, and with medical procedures, will get run over by the defendant doctors and their experts.  This is not an area for those who don’t know their stuff.

As I mentioned, the cases are expensive.  A plaintiff will need separate expert witnesses to testify against each of the defendants.  The plaintiff will also need an expert to testify that the medical negligence caused the injury in question.  The plaintiff may need more experts to quantify the future medical bills and future loss of earnings or of earning capacity.  In the first place, the malpractice lawyer will have to locate these experts.  A lawyer who does not regularly represent victims of malpractice is going to have a hard time finding well-qualified experts to testify on behalf of the client.  Secondly, after the malpractice lawyer has located these experts, he or she must be able to pay them to review the records, to confer about the issues in the case, to prepare for discovery testimony and to appear at trial, should the case go to trial.  Since these experts are often charging $800.00 an hour, the malpractice lawyer has to be able to advance substantial sums on behalf of the client.  Not only must the lawyer be able to afford to pay the experts he or she has hired, the lawyer must be able to afford to pay the experts hired by the defense to give discovery testimony.  These are not cases that can be prosecuted on the cheap by lawyers who do not have substantial financial resources.

Lastly, the malpractice lawyer must be an able and effective trial lawyer.  The insurance companies that insure health care providers and the lawyers who defend these cases, can spot an inexperienced lawyer a mile away.  If they don’t think the lawyer for the patient has what it takes to successfully win the case in front of the jury, they will make low or no offers and force the lawyer to either drop the case or go to trial and prove it.  As with all other parts of a malpractice case, putting on a successful case for a patient at trial is not for the inexperienced.

If you or a loved one believe you have a medical malpractice case, don’t go to any lawyer until you have checked out their background and experience.  Any good malpractice lawyer will have a web site which discusses his or her qualifications and experience.  No good malpractice lawyer will hold themselves out as experienced and willing to take cases in lots of other areas of personal injury.  As I stated above, this is not an area for dabblers who say they handle all kinds of cases.  Make sure any lawyer you consider specializes in medical malpractice.  Every good malpractice lawyer will welcome the opportunity to discuss his or her experience level with you so don’t be hesitant to ask.  At a minimum, you want to ask what portion of the attorney’s practice is devoted to medical malpractice matters and how many malpractice cases they have tried.

If you have a good malpractice case, don’t throw it away by hiring someone who is not a good, experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

Posted in arizona certified medical malpractice lawyers, arizona certified medical negligence lawyers, arizona certified personal injury lawyers, Doctors, Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Lawsuits, Malpractice costs, Medical Malpractice, medical malpractice cases, medical malpractice claims, medical malpractice lawsuits, medical malpractice lawyers, Medical Negligence, medical negligence lawyers, plaintiff, trial |

Health Care Providers Are Often Victims Too.

July 16, 2018

In this blog, I often write about patients who have been injured as the result of malpractice at the hands of health care providers.  Increasingly, it is the other way around.  Here is an article from Politico about violence directed against providers in the emergency department.  It is a fact of life there and it is getting worse.  Perhaps the biggest reason for the dramatic rise in incidents is the opioid crisis.  More and more people going to emergency rooms looking for opioid pain medication are being turned away for doctor shopping.  An addict already in great distress often does not react well to being told they will not be receiving any pills and that they will have to leave.  There are a number of reasons we should all be very concerned about the problem of violence in the emergency department.

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The first reason is simple compassion for a fellow human being.  The people who work in the emergency department are almost always dedicated professionals who work long and difficult hours to be there for us when we have a real or potential emergency.  They are well-trained for the most part and work in an environment that is stressful under the best of circumstances.  They never know if the next few minutes will bring them a flood of victims from some sort of mass tragedy.  They work hard.  They deserve our respect and a safe place to work.

The second reason for our concern is that the surge in violence has forced hospitals to increase the presence of security in the emergency department and throughout the hospital.  This level of security does not come cheap and is added on to bills that can already be staggering.  According to the Politico article, the hospital industry spent $1.5 billion in 2016 on security and other needs directly related to emergency department violence.

Third is the fact that other patients in the emergency department can end up as victims of violence directed at the ER staff or just directed randomly.  I certainly don’t want to be present when another patient goes off and I am sure you do not either.

Lastly, concerns about violence, about personal safety and about drug seeking patients can only diminish the quality of the care delivered in the emergency department.  Anything that causes suspicion on the part of providers or comes between them and the patients they are trying to help interferes with the delivery of care.

Regrettably, there is little we as individuals can do to address this problem.  The best we can do is recognize that the opioid crisis is eating at our country from the inside.  Lives are being lost, children are being traumatized, the economy is being damaged by lost productivity and so on and so on.  We need to stop the creation of new addicts and we need to get treatment for those already addicted.

 

Posted in Doctors, General Health, Health Care Costs, Hospitals, Medical Costs, Nurses |

Good News for Type 1 Diabetics!

July 09, 2018

Last week I wrote about one of the problems facing Type 1 diabetics: the ever increasing cost of the insulin they need to stay alive.  Today, I am writing about some good news that may reduce the need for insulin.  Dr. Diane Faustman of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has been for many years a leading researcher into novel ways to treat diabetes.  For the last 10 years she has been studying the effects of a generic vaccine for tuberculosis on people with longstanding Type 1 diabetes.

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As many of you already know, Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and kills the pancreatic cells which manufacture insulin.  Insulin is what enables the body to use the glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream and deliver it to the cells which need it to operate.  Without insulin, the body cannot use the glucose and the patient will ultimately die.  Dr. Faustman and her colleagues have been exploring ways to shut down the immune system attacks on the insulin producing cells in the hope that there may still be some residual ability of the body to manufacture insulin, even in people who have had Type 1 diabetes for many years.  Results in mice were promising and recently Dr. Faustman and her colleagues reported on the results of the most recent human studies.

They found that two doses four weeks apart of a TB vaccine, BCG, that has been around for almost 100 years has a powerful effect on the immune system and on the body’s glucose metabolism system.  The effects did not appear for three years but when they did, they were dramatic and exciting.

In the first place, the average blood glucose levels for those who received the treatment went down significantly.  The closer to normal the blood glucose levels are, the fewer long-term consequences will result from the diabetes.  Type 1 diabetics use insulin to keep their blood sugar levels down.  One of the risks of insulin therapy, however, is that the patient will accidentally get too much insulin and blood sugars will drop below normal.  This is a condition called hypoglycemia and it can be fatal, if the blood glucose level drops too low and is not promptly corrected.  Some studies have found that fully 1 out of every 20 Type 1 diabetics dies in his or her sleep due to accidental hypoglycemia.

The report of Dr. Faustman’s group found that the number of hypoglycemic events in the treated patients went to essentially zero, even though blood sugars were much lower and closer to normal.  For most Type 1 diabetics using insulin today, there is a risk that, in keeping blood sugars close to normal, they will accidentally drive them too low and become hypoglycemic.  To reduce the incidence of hypoglycemia in these patients at the same time blood sugars are reduced to near normal is a big deal.

The study did not find that these patients no longer needed insulin but they needed less than before the vaccinations.  The question of whether the patients are making insulin on their own remains open.  The study also found that the way in which the body used the glucose in the blood was changed by the vaccinations so that, when there was more glucose, the body used more and, when there was less glucose, the body used less.  The researchers believe this change in cellular biology accounts for the reduced need for insulin, the improved blood sugar control and the near elimination of hypoglycemic events.

There is much more work to be done before researchers know the limits of the use of this vaccine and the best way to use it.  This is certainly not a cure for Type 1 diabetes but it is a big step in that direction.  Thank you to Dr. Faustman and all the researchers who are working in this field.

Posted in drug companies, General Health, health, healthy living, medical research, science news, Type 1 Diabetes |

Insulin Makers Should Be Ashamed of Themselves

July 02, 2018

If you have been following our blog, you know that my 8 year old grandson is a Type 1 diabetic and has been for 5 years now.  Unlike Type 2 diabetes, no amount of weight loss or diet or lifestyle changes can reverse Type 1 diabetes.  It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and kills the cells which make insulin.  At the present, there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.  My grandson’s disease has made me aware of the many problems faced by Type 1 diabetics.

One of the problems about which I have written is the unconscionable conduct of the makers of insulin.  Type 1 diabetics need insulin to live.  The doctor who discovered and created the first artificial insulin knew this and sold the patent for one dollar so that insulin would be available to all.  That has not stopped today’s greedy drug makers.  Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, you know I am talking about you.

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Today’s manufacturers of insulin know they have Type 1 diabetics over a barrel.  To increase their profits, they have tweaked the formula for the insulin they sell so they can get new patents for it.  I get that.  They want to make money and they are entitled to do so but not at the expense of the health and lives of Type 1 diabetics.   After they patented their new insulin formulas, they stopped production of cheaper insulins.  Insulin prices have skyrocketed.  Between 2002 and 2013, the cost of insulin tripled and has continued to shoot up.  Type 1 diabetics either pay the new price or die.

For some there appears to be a third alternative.  They cut the amount of insulin they take in order to make ends meet.  This, of course, means that more of them are going to go blind, experience kidney failure, or have their legs amputated as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.  You know who ends up paying for the extra health care they need when these bad things happen.  It is the same taxpayer who pays when these people become disabled because of their diabetes.

No one in America should die or become disabled because they cannot afford insulin.  If the drug makers will not voluntarily do the right thing, it is up to us as citizens and taxpayers to make them do the right thing.  Write your Senators and Congresspeople and let them know you won’t accept Big Pharma ripping off the American people any longer.

 

 

Posted in drug companies, health, Health Care Costs, healthy living, Medical Costs, Medicare, Type 1 Diabetes |

Medical Research – Funding and Fraud

June 25, 2018

Medical literature is frequently the gold standard when it comes to addressing issues in medical malpractice cases.  Studies published in most respected journals involve research that is rigorous and well-controlled for multiple factors and biases.  The scientific community and the legal community both rely on the quality of such research to make important, informed decisions which can have significant impacts on the lives of patients. Unfortunately, not all research is good research, even when it might otherwise appear to be above board.  And, it is a bigger problem than many folks recognize, as this study suggests.

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case in point involves a recent study that was undertaken by the National Institutes of Health to examine the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on overall health. A Harvard scientist and some of the agency’s own staff designed the study in close association with the alcohol industry. Five large beer and liquor companies eventually agreed to pick up to pay for most of the $100 million tab for the 10-year-long trial. While the study was designed to identify the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, it was not designed to pick up corresponding harms, such as cancer.  It also appeared as if the study’s findings were preordained with one of the study coordinator’s suggesting that it would provide “gold standard” evidence that moderate drinking is safe.  Had the study not been terminated prematurely, the conclusions would have been anything but reliable.  Thus, for the alcohol industry, there was no downside, since its marketing programs would benefit from a finding of health benefits or even no benefit at all.

As with many bad behaviors, money appears to be at the root of the evil. $100 million would keep a lot of people working for a long time.  For the researchers, that appears to be enough justification to potentially mislead both scientists and consumers about the risks of moderate alcohol consumption.  While it’s not always possible to identify fraud in sophisticated and complex medical studies, fortunately, there was enough smoke for an internal investigation to be initiated and to have identified the significant problem before the researchers’ conduct could cause any serious harm.

 

Posted in Fraud, medical research |

Beware Lasik!

June 20, 2018

If you have been following our blog for any period of time, you know that one of the things we often discuss is the fact that medicine is a business and the patients are its customers.  Like almost all other businesses, the sellers are looking to make a profit and to do so will sometimes exaggerate their products strengths and downplay its weaknesses.  Lasik surgery is a prime example.

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The New York Times had a recent story about lasik surgery and its risks.  It is worth your time to read it.

Lasik surgery is one of the most popular of the elective surgeries.  It is used to correct vision in otherwise healthy eyes.  Importantly, there is nothing wrong with the eyes of people who undergo lasik surgery that a good pair of glasses cannot fix.  In this way, lasik surgery is unlike surgery we undergo to fix a broken body part.  For that reason, the risks should be few and small before the FDA approves the procedure.  According to the Times story, that has regrettably not been the case.

Many doctors who do lasik surgery make a lot of money doing it.  My partner had lasik surgery and swears by it.  So do many others.  There are, however, a lot of lasik patients who have problems following lasik.  If you have lasik, you will sign an informed consent document attesting to the fact that you have been advised that lasik can cause problems and that you agree to accept the risk of those problems.  It is the contention of the activists quoted by the Times that problems are far more common that the lasik industry admits, are often more severe than disclosed, and last far longer than most people realize.

As always, be a careful consumer of medical services.  There is no free lunch, no matter what the lasik advertisers and providers would have you believe.  There are risks associated with the procedure and they are not inconsequential or rare.

Posted in Doctors, Fraud, General Health, lasik, medical research |

Pay More, Get Less

June 11, 2018

The United States spends more per person on health care than any other developed country.  At the same time, our life expectancy is less than that in other developed countries.  What is going on?

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Let’s start with the cost of health care.  According to this story from the New York Times, our cost of health care was not much different from the rest of the developed countries until about 1980.  From that point, our costs began to go up compared to the others.  Some of the factors which played a part are the role of government in controlling costs.  Other countries rely more on governmental policies to control health care costs while we rely more on market forces.  Normally, the market works well to keep costs down through competition.  But markets have to be free and open to get the maximum advantage.  Because of consolidation reducing the number of providers of care, secrecy about costs, political interference in the market and arms races among hospitals, the market in the United States does not function well in keeping costs down.  We also have a lot of inefficiencies in the system which increase costs.  For example, different insurers may require different submissions to justify payment.  Drug companies use patent protections to keep prices up and sometimes conspire to keep generics from the market after their patents expire.  Middlemen, called Pharmacy Benefit Mangers, play a role in the supply process and take a cut of each transaction.

On the issue of life expectancy, we can see that there is no clear relation between health care spending and overall health or life expectancy.  It starts at the beginning:  We rank 29th in the world in infant mortality.  That is just stupid.  In the Scandinavian countries, the rate of infant mortality is half of ours.  Almost all of the Western European countries have a longer life expectancy than do we.  Eighteen countries have a life expectancy at least three years longer than that of the average American.

Of course, very few of us are “average Americans.”  We differ greatly in many ways, one of the most important of which is income.  Being poor is hazardous to your health.  The difference in life expectancy has been described as “staggering.”  The highest earning men live on average 15 years longer than the lowest earning men.  For women the difference, 10 years, is still large but not quite as pronounced as for men.  Geographically, the lowest life expectancies are in the Midwest Rust Belt.  The best advice for living long is to move to San Francisco and make a billion dollars in tech.  If that is too far out, try moving to New York and becoming and investment banker.

Seriously, good exercise and diet habits contribute greatly to longer life expectancy.  Try also to be an informed consumer of medical care so you don’t get more than you need and you pay fairly for what you do need.

Posted in drug companies, General Health, health, Health Care Costs, Health Insurers, healthy living, Hospitals, Medicare, Obesity, obesity epidemic |