Medical Malpractice News and Views


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

Why Won’t Someone in Arizona Take My Malpractice Case?

June 26, 2017

Finding a good laywer in medellin

You live in Arizona and believe you have a medical malpractice case.  You have spoken to a number of law firms that handle these cases but no one will accept your case.  What is going on? Unfortunately, what is going on is called the system and it is rigged in favor of the medical profession and against you.

Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex and expensive cases in which an individual can be involved.  Almost without exception, such cases require multiple, highly-paid expert witnesses to establish the fault of the medical provider and the damages suffered by the patient.  Depending on the number of defendants in the lawsuit and the nature of the injury, the out-of-pocket costs a medical malpractice lawyer must advance may range from a low of $30,000 to a high well in excess of $200,000.

The number of talented trial lawyers in Arizona and elsewhere is small to begin with.  Lots of lawyers claim to be trial lawyers who can represent injured victims but few of them have actually tried cases and demonstrated ability.  The supply of talented trial lawyers who are experienced in medical malpractice cases is much smaller still.  The successful medical malpractice lawyer must not only be a talented trial lawyer, he or she must also have a sophisticated understanding of medicine and the way the medical profession works.  These cases almost always require the lawyer to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal time.  For all these reasons, the typical fee charged by a good medical malpractice lawyer in Arizona is 40% of any amount recovered by trial or settlement.

You can do the math.  Even if these were the only considerations in determining when a medical malpractice lawyer can take a case, it is clear that, for their to be anything at the end for the injured patient after reimbursing the costs and paying the lawyer, the case must be one worth at least $350,000.  Patients with cases that do not reach that minimum level are not going to be able to find a good lawyer to take their case.  Of course, these considerations are only the beginning.

Juries today are very skeptical about all personal injury claimants. They think most plaintiffs are playing lawsuit lottery and exaggerating their injuries in the hope of receiving a large jury award.  They are even more skeptical of medical malpractice claimants.  They don’t like to find against doctors and nurses.  They don’t want to believe that doctors and nurses make mistakes that kill and maim patients.  Add to this the fact that the Arizona legislature has changed the rules so that juries are told if the patient has received any insurance payments for medical bills or by way of life insurance.  Knowing that the patient has received these payments further reduces the willingness of the jurors to find against the health care providers.  Doctors and hospitals win 9 out of 10 cases that get tried in Maricopa County.  The figures are a little better for patients in Pima County but worse in the other counties.

In my experience, unless a jury believes you need its help in going forward with your life, it will not find in your favor in a medical malpractice case.  This means that no matter how bad the hell you endured as a result of malpractice, if you have made a good recovery, the jury is unlikely to find in your favor.

A good medical malpractice lawyer does not do you any favors if he or she takes your case when it is not a strong one which the medical providers are going to want to settle.  If the case does not settle and you go to trial and lose, you are going to end up with judgments against you by the medical providers for their costs. These could be anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.  These cost judgments add insult to injury.  The medical professional injured you and now YOU have to pay HIM.

A good medical malpractice lawyer in Arizona is going to look at all of these factors in deciding if your case is one which is likely to be successful and is one worth the investment of costs and time.  It would be nice if we had a simple system for identifying those patients who have been injured by medical malpractice and for compensating them.  Unfortunately, we do not and until the glorious day arrives when we do, good medical malpractice lawyers are going to have to apply their judgment in deciding which patients the system will allow them to help and which it will not.  If you are not happy about this, and you should not be, write your state legislators, your Congressperson and your Senators and let them know it is important to you that patient rights be respected and that patients injured by medical malpractice be fairly compensated.

 

 

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

Republicans in Congress Keeping Their Promise to Gut Malpractice Suits

June 19, 2017

Politicians like to come up with misleading names for their bills.   The worse the bill is for the American People, the more lovable the name they choose to divert attention from what they are actually doing.  They are true to form in their current attempt to take away your rights in order to make a big gift to the medical profession and the insurance industry.  They call it “The Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.”  With a name like that, what could possibly be wrong?

Politicians preach about the virtues of local control except when the locals don’t do what the big boys want done.  In this bill, Republicans in Congress are telling the states what they must and must not do when it comes to malpractice.  “We know best,” they say.  It doesn’t matter what the people of Arizona want or what our state constitution says, if this passes, Arizona must obey.

The original plan was to make the changes a part of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  However, because the Republicans are trying to accomplish the repeal and replace through the mechanism called “reconciliation,” they are limited to changes which affect the budget.  Reconciliation allows them to pass a bill with only 51 votes; there can be no minority filibuster.  Under reconciliation, however, changes to the malpractice laws cannot be made.  Congressional Republicans will have to pass the bill the old-fashioned way and it will be subject to filibuster in the Senate.

The House bill is sweeping.  It limits your rights in many ways.  First, it shortens the period during which a person can sue to one year from the time the person discovers they have been the victim of malpractice or a maximum of three years, whichever comes first.  If you discover malpractice more than three years after the fact, too bad for you.  If you are a child and cannot sue, too bad for you too unless your parent or guardian has committed fraud against you.  If your parents or guardian are not very responsible and don’t bring suit on your behalf, you just have to suck it up.  If you have future medical expenses and have to go on AHCCCS to get them paid, taxpayers will be responsible for those bills instead of the doctors who made them necessary in the first place.

While there is no limit on economic damages, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000.00.  This means that if your child is killed by medical malpractice, $250,000.00 is the most you can recover.  If a stay-at-home mom is killed by medical malpractice, $250,000.00 is all her husband, children and parents may recover for her loss.  The bill says that the jury cannot be told about the damages cap so that jurors will think they are compensating the victims when they really are not.  After all, we can’t have jurors, to whom we entrust life and death decisions in criminal cases, making full awards against doctors.

It is already difficult for people who have not been catastrophically injured by medical malpractice to find a lawyer to represent them.  The cases are very expensive to prosecute and juries are very reluctant to find against health care professionals.  To reduce further the chances that an injured victim might be able to find a lawyer to represent her on a contingent fee basis, the bill restricts the amount a lawyer may receive.  It doesn’t matter if you are willing to agree to a certain fee, Congress says you cannot unless it is below a certain amount.  Doctors and hospitals can pay as much as they want for lawyers to defend them in malpractice cases but patients are limited in what they can pay.  Does that sound fair to you?

All of this is premised on the idea that there is some sort of crisis in medical malpractice and that doctors are unethically prescribing tests for you that you do not need because they are afraid of being sued.  There is no malpractice crisis.  According to the National Practitioners Data Bank, which by law records every malpractice payment in the country, total malpractice claims and total malpractice payments have been consistently dropping for the last 10 years for which data are available.  Between 2003 and 2013, the total number of claims for which payment was made dropped by 35%.  During the same time period, total payments dropped by over 25%.  Doctors and hospitals win a high percentage of the cases which get tried.  Malpractice insurance companies are making large profits.  According to the A.M. Best insurance rating company, as of 2013 malpractice insurers had reported eight straight year of profits.  Some are reporting record profits.

The idea that doctors will order far fewer tests if this bill passes has been debunked by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which predicts only a small decrease in the number of tests ordered and a small savings equal to less than 0.0015% of the overall annual spending on health care.  This is not a fair benefit to receive in return for trading away your rights.  On the other hand, the medical profession and its insurers will reap billions in additional profits from these restrictions on the rights of patients.

While most Americans have been distracted by Congressional efforts to take away their health coverage and to reinstate the right of insurance companies to deny coverage based on the existence of a pre-existing condition, Congress has been quietly moving to take away other rights, including the right to sue and be compensated when you have been the victim of medical malpractice.  Don’t let them get away with it.

Posted in Defensive Medicine, Doctors, Fee for Service, Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Health Care Costs, Health Insurers, Hospital Negligence, Hospitals, Malpractice caps, Malpractice costs, medical ethics, Medical Malpractice, medical malpractice cases, medical malpractice claims, medical malpractice lawsuits, medical malpractice lawyers, Medical Negligence, medical negligence lawyers, Statute of Limitations, tort reform |

Medical Malpractice Damages Caps Uncapped

June 12, 2017

Medical malpractice cases are fertile ground for tort reformers.  States around the country have enacted legislation targeted at the specious claim medical malpractice lawsuits are causing skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance costs for doctors and out of control health care costs for insurance companies and consumers.  The legislative responses have been many from creating a heightened burden of proof in medical malpractice lawsuits, increasing negligence requirements, and imposing caps on non-economic damages.  Non-economic damages caps often prevent an injured person from being fully compensated for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life when they are harmed by medical negligence, regardless of how seriously they have been harmed.  The loss of a leg may be worth the same as the loss of a toe.

Despite  heath care industry research which demonstrates tort reform does nothing to lower malpractice premiums or health care costs, the Arizona legislature, not surprisingly has used many of these tools and continues to look for ways to create obstacles for plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases.  But it has not imposed caps, much as it might want to do so. Why?  Fortunately for Arizona citizens, damages caps are prohibited by Article 2, § 31 of the Arizona Constitution which provides, “No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.”

Some states without express constitutional protections like Arizona has have found caps to be unconstitutional on other grounds.  A decision by the Florida Supreme Court is the most recent example.  There, the majority disputed the existence of a malpractice crisis which the legislature use to justify the caps.  The Court went on to hold that arbitrary and invidious discrimination between victims of medical malpractice and all other personal injury victims, to whom caps did not apply, violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution.  That clause says all people must be treated equally.  The Court went on to find, much like the current research, that there was no relationship between caps and alleviating what the legislators perceived as a malpractice crisis.

The Court was narrowly split, however, and not all state courts decided have found caps to be unconstitutional in the same way as the Florida court.  Of course, once a caps loving legislator has been touched by medical malpractice, you’ll hear a change of tune.  And, while tort reform will continue to be a driving force in our country for quite some time, whether facts will play role in the public policy behind it remains to be seen.

Posted in medical malpractice cases, medical malpractice damages caps, medical malpractice lawsuits |

Aspirin – A More Powerful Weapon against Stroke than Previously Thought

June 08, 2017

Aspirin.  The wonder drug that keeps working more wonders.

Don't use aspirin as primary prevention for heart disease and stroke, FDA warns

From headache to heart attack, aspirin is the go-to drug to treat and prevent so many medical conditions.  And, its often lifesaving benefits continue to be better understood day after day.

At least those are the results of a recent retrospective study published in the Lancet which you can read  here.  Researchers examined the individual patient data from all randomized, controlled trials of aspirin administered after ischemic stroke and TIA (transient ischemic attack).  They found that aspirin was far more effective at preventing recurrent stroke and reducing its severity than previously thought.  However, they also found that aspirin was less effective in doing so over the long haul.  Here are the primary findings.

  • aspirin has a far more significant impact on the incidence of early, recurrent stroke prevention in patients with mild and moderate damage
  • aspirin significantly reduces the severity of early recurrent stroke in patients with mild and moderate damage
  • aspirin provides limited benefits for stroke prevention after the first six weeks, regardless of severity

The findings were consistent those from an earlier, non-randomized study which found that administration of aspirin following TIA and ischemic stroke can reduce the chance of early recurrence by 80%.

Consistent with these findings, the researchers recommend that:

  • aspirin should be a front line defense and administered by health care providers immediately following ischemic stroke or TIA
  • patients should self-administer aspirin when they begin to experience acute stroke-like symptoms
  • patients should not self-administer aspirin if they experience chronic stroke-like symptoms which could indicate a hemorrhagic stroke

So, make sure you have some of those little white pills on hand.  They could make a big difference in your future.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized |

What Are We Paying For?

May 31, 2017

Image result for medical care

Researchers have developed a new tool for assessing the effectiveness of a health care system and we in the United States aren’t doing so well.  The concept is called “amenable mortality.”  It identifies medical conditions which cause death but which, with good medical care, can be addressed so as to reduce the likelihood of death.  Despite the fact that we in the United States spend more per person on health care than any other country in the world, we rank around 20th on the list.  Way too many of us are dying from causes that can be treated.  We are on a par with Montenegro and Estonia, two perfectly good countries but two countries in whose company we would rather not be when the issue is the quality of health care.  It also clear from the statistics that we are falling further and further behind other leading industrialized countries.

We do well with illnesses which can be addressed with vaccines (so long as the anti-vaxxers don’t get their way) but we are in failing grade territory for diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, neonatal conditions, ischemic heart disease, non-melanoma skin cancer and, wait for it, the adverse effects of medical treatment itself – in other words medical malpractice.  We do a much better job of preventing the victims of medical malpractice from being fairly compensated for their injuries than we do preventing malpractice in the first place.

In addition to learning that our overall health care ranks far down in the world, researchers also discovered that it varies greatly from location to location.  Much of this variation appears to be linked to income inequality:  the greater the income inequality in an area, the more likely its residents are to die of medical conditions which can be treated.

We deserve better.  Why are Canada, Great Britain, Germany and France so far ahead of us in preventing death?  Maybe the answer is to stop doing what we have been doing and asking what other countries are doing that is allowing them to pull further ahead of us.  Here is a hint:  Don’t enact new laws that throw over 20 million people off health insurance and expect them to live longer.

Posted in Cancer, Doctors, General Health, health, Health Care Costs, Heart Attacks, Hospital Negligence, Hospitals, Medical Costs, Medical Malpractice, medical mistakes, Medical Negligence, tort reform |

Saying No to a Medical Malpractice Case – Honesty Is the Best Policy

May 22, 2017

Please indulge me in a rant.  Not many things get me riled up more than having a prospective medical malpractice client tell me something like this.  “The last  lawyer I spoke with told me I had a really good case, but she said she was too busy to handle it.” Seriously?  No decent medical malpractice lawyer who has the time to evaluate a potential case is going to turn it down if it is “really good.”

How about his one.  “After the last lawyer looked at the medical records he realized he had a conflict because he represents the doctor.”  Lawyers are required to do a conflicts check before endeavoring to undertake a matter.  In addition, it is rare for medical malpractice  lawyers who represent plaintiffs to have a conflict with a physician or hospital.  When they do, it is something that almost always can and should be identified before a client and her records set foot in the office.  I hear this excuse far too often for it to just be that rare and unexpected situation.

There are a host of other lame and untrue excuses I regularly hear which are nothing more than code for “you don’t have a viable case, but I am too afraid to tell you the truth.”  These cop-outs are about the worst possible way to treat people who have been the victims of a poor medical outcome.  They come to a lawyer seeking sound and honest advice.  That lawyer is often someone with whom they have had no previous experience and in whom they must have blind trust.  They want the lawyer to help them understand what happened and why, and all too often that’s the last thing they get.

I turn down about 150-200 cases for every one I take.  Half of those involve a prospective client who just wants to hear that they don’t have a case.  They don’t want to be confronted with the prospect of having to decide whether to sue a doctor or hospital.  In other cases, a prospective client just wants reassurance that nothing could have been done to change the outcome so they can accept it and move on.  For those that truly want to pursue a claim, they need to know if it is not viable and a lawyer need to tell them if isn’t.

Image result for tell the truth when delivering bad news

There are many reasons why a case may not be viable.  More often than not in the cases I look at, there has been some malpractice, but for reasons I have discussed in previous posts and on our website, that is not enough to justify a lawsuit.  The damages are insufficient to generate a worthwhile recovery.  The liability is too complicated.  The cause of the damage is too uncertain.  Whatever the reason, when a lawyer turns down a case, the prospective client needs to know the unvarnished reason why so he can make an intelligent and informed decision about what to do next.

Any lawyer doing this kind of work must be prepared to tell the truth. Those who don’t usually justify it by pointing to an unfounded fear that shooting straight with a client may expose them to liability if they are wrong.  That’s a lame.  In more than 20 years of practice, I have never heard of an Arizona medical malpractice lawyer being sued for telling someone they had a bad case.  Moreover, a lawyer can easily protect against a possible lawsuit by explaining how other lawyers may view things differently and encouraging the prospective client to get more than one opinion.  Just as it is with medicine, when a second or third opinion provides support for the first, the potential client can have a high degree of confidence with whatever decision they make, and they can make it more quickly.  But, the client needs good information for this to work effectively.

Telling a prospective client why they don’t have a case is just as important as the work lawyers do when we sue a negligent health care provider and bring them to justice. Medical malpractice lawyers need to help all the folks that seek their advice, not just those who have a case that might pay for it.

Posted in Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer |

The Algorithms Are Coming

May 15, 2017

Image result for roomful of computers images

The Stanford University School of Medicine and Google have teamed up to improve medical care.  At least in part this is the result of the belief of the dean of the school that the greatest innovations in medicine going forward will result from the ability to manage and interpret huge amounts of patient data.  Algorithms are the way in which computers process that data.

One of the innovative ways in which computers and medicine are coming together is illustrated by a pilot program being tested in the Stanford Medical Center’s intensive care units.  Doctors have long known that dirty hands can and do spread infections.  Despite years of informational programs emphasizing the need for health care providers to wash their hands before visiting a patient, the rates of infections spread by unwashed hands are not going down.  Enter the computer.  An artificial intelligence program was developed that can tell if a health care worker has washed his or her hands by using infrared light to monitor a washing station in the ICU.  The plan is for the doors to the patients’ rooms to be fitted with an interlock which can be opened in the normal course only by a doctor or nurse who has just washed his or her hands.  The doors can be opened in an emergency without handwashing but the computer will record the emergency opening and a report must be submitted to explain what happened.  The interlocks are not yet operational but the computer monitoring system is already demonstrating good handwashing compliance.

The Stanford/Google partnership hopes to be able to crunch large amounts of data, including genomic data, and be able to better predict when a person will become ill and to provide treatment to prevent the disease in the first place or to treat it sooner than at present.  They are also studying data on patient readmissions to identify those patients at greatest risk for readmission and to tailor treatment to them to keep them from coming back.

Our ability to sequence the human genome and to use computing power to put that development to use will almost certainly produce advances in medicine which will stun us.  As important as this work is, it will be equally important to make sure that all can benefit from it and not just those with the highest incomes or the best health plans.

Posted in Doctors, electronic medical records, General Health, genetic testing, health, Health Care Costs, Hospitals, Infection, medical charts, Medical Costs |

The Medical Industrial Complex

May 01, 2017

For many years I have stated the premise that medicine is a business, that we are its customers and that we should govern ourselves accordingly.  A new book by a physician turned reporter addresses this premise in great detail and presents compelling evidence that our health care system is broken and out of control.  The book is “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business” by Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal.  https://www.amazon.com/American-Sickness-Healthcare-Became-Business/dp/1594206759  Dr. Rosenthal graduated from the Harvard Medical School.  Following graduation, she trained as an internal medicine specialist and worked in emergency departments.  She left the practice of medicine and worked as a reporter for the New York Times for 22 years reporting on the health field.  She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Kaiser Health News, an independent publication dedicated to health care and health policy.

Dr. Rosenthal’s book traces the development of health insurance from its benign beginnings to the gigantic industry it is today.  She discusses how its development spurred the medical profession, drug companies and device manufacturers to create billing machines which every day cost the American public hundreds of millions of dollars.

Image result for image money

Every attempt by insurers or the government to rein in the ever rising cost of treatment is met by armies of professionals working to find loopholes in the regulations.  When the rule was announced that only a certain amount would be paid for treatments lasting less than one hour, treatments magically began taking one hour and one minute to complete.  You only have to read a medical record to see all the tortured language used by the physicians to justify extra payment for what they just did for the patient.

One of her most important contentions is that prices for treatment and drugs will increase to the maximum amount the traffic will bear and, when the payer is a health insurance company, what the traffic will bear is a huge number.  By way of illustration, she recounts the story of a patient who underwent a one hour infusion of a drug for which his insurer was charged $120,000.  The charge was outrageous given that the wholesale cost of the drug to the hospital which administered it was only $1,200.  That the hospital had an interest in the patent to the medicine may or may not have played a role in its decision to charge such an astronomical amount.  To the patient’s surprise and dismay, his insurer paid almost the entire amount sought by the hospital.  The hospital was surprised that he was upset since it considered the matter to be one between it and the insurer.  After all, the hospital reasoned, he wasn’t the one paying the outrageous bill.  Of course it wasn’t the patient paying it, it was all of us who have health insurance who were being charged for this and for all the other outrageous bills hospitals, doctors and drug companies send.

My seven year old grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was three.  Without insulin, he dies.  A Canadian physician, Dr. Frederick Banting, invented insulin in 1921.  He gave away the patent for insulin so that no one would ever be denied the insulin they needed to live.  Today the drug companies sell designer insulin at high prices.  While a few years ago, it cost $100-$200 for a month’s supply of insulin, today it costs $400-$500 for the same amount.  When you ask why, everyone in the distribution chain blames someone else in the chain.  In the meantime, everyone but the diabetic patient makes big money on the sale of insulin.

Our health care system needs to change.  Perhaps Dr. Rosenthal’s book will spur some much-needed conversation.

 

Posted in Doctors, drug companies, Fee for Service, Health Care Costs, Health Insurers, Hospitals, Medical Costs, Medicare |

Women Doctors Better than Men?

April 24, 2017

Might women doctors be better than men?  They are if you believe a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.  When investigators compared hospital readmission and mortality rates for Medicare patients treated by male and female physicians, those treated by female patients fared better.  How much?  About .5%.  Doesn’t sound like a lot?  Well, the study estimates that if male doctors did as well as women in treating older patients, about 32,000 more lives would be prolonged each year.  That’s a lot, especially if you are the patient or a loved one.

While the researchers did their best to rule out whether factors payed a role, the results are likely to be the subject of some controversy and do not necessarily prove women docs are better than men.  Still the results are significant and may lead the way to more research into better treatment methods.

So, what’s behind the difference.  If past research provides any explanation, it is because men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  They look different.  They are raised differently.  They are socialized differently.  They see the world from different perspectives.  They communicate and interact with others in ways that contrast.  It is unclear exactly what it is in particular about the patients of women doctors that leads to better outcomes.  Perhaps it is a combination of things.  Women are known to be nurturers, while men are known to be fixers.  Could it be that a nurturing mentality is better than a fixing mentality?

Does this research mean anything for medical malpractice? According to some studies like this one, which found women ophthalmologists malpractice less frequently than men, it does.  Still, I don’t think I am going to switch to a woman doctor from my male primary physician on the basis of this study alone…at least not until I am on Medicare.

Here’s what Garry Trudeau has to say about the issue.

Doonesbury

Posted in General Health, healthy living, Hospitals, Uncategorized |

Second Opinions Can Save Your Life

April 17, 2017

For many years I have been discussing the importance of a second opinion as a way to avoid being the victim of medical mistake.  Doctors are only human and we do not know as much about the human body as we would like.  In spite of advances in medicine, doctors continue to make mistakes in diagnosis.  If you have a diagnosis, how likely is it to be the right one?  A recent study out of the Mayo Clinic casts some light on the question.

The researchers conducting the study looked at 286 patients who had been referred for a second opinion by someone at their primary care practice.  Each patient came with a diagnosis but obviously there was something which caused the physician or physician’s assistant at the primary practice to send them for a second opinion.  It is also significant that the study was conducted at the Mayo Clinic, an academic institution with a well-deserved reputation for excellence in diagnosis.

Each patient gave a history and was examined.  When appropriate, laboratory tests were ordered.  The outcomes were divided into three categories:  (1) Original diagnosis confirmed; (2) Original diagnosis improved or refined; and (3) New and different diagnosis.

In 12% of the cases, the original diagnosis was found to be correct.  In 66% of the cases the original diagnosis was refined and made more accurate.  Importantly, in 21% of the cases the diagnosis was very different from the original diagnosis.  Think about that.  In over 85% of the cases, the original diagnosis was changed to some degree.  In more than 1 in 5 cases, the original diagnosis was very wrong.

You don’t have to wait for someone to suggest you consider getting a second opinion.  Medicine is a business and we are its customers.  Just because a doctor tells you that you have a certain condition and need a certain treatment or a certain surgery, does not mean that it is true.  When it comes to surgery, it has often been pointed out that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Even setting aside the fee for service profit motive, doctors can make mistakes and you should be as sure as you can be that they are right before you make a big decision about treatment or surgery.

Don’t just get a second opinion from anyone.  You are most likely to get a solid second opinion from an academic institution where they are not trying to sell you anything.  Good luck and be an informed consumer of health care services.

Posted in Doctors, Fee for Service, health, Health Care Costs, medical errors, medical mistakes, Medical Negligence, Misdiagnosis |