Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Monday, October 27, 2003

"Hey Doc, I've Got This Pain In My Ass..."

Wanna know why Doctor's get sued? Besides the obvious reasons (pure incompetence or malfeasance) Doctors get sued because have a propensity to be arrogant jerks. They nearly dare people to sue them. They treat customers (that's what patients are, after all) like they are morons. And, they are totally beholden to insurance companies. Want a straight answer about something medical? Don't ask a doctor! They'll quote you the following statistics; "33% of people will have some reaction to this medication, 33% will have no reaction and 33% will have a violent reaction." Helpful as hell. I honestly don't know who you're supposed to ask.

They are loathe to be honest and direct...and did I mention the arrogance?

Now, the conventional wisdom about all this subtrifuge is that medical malpractice awards are "forcing doctors out of business" because juries are giving excessive awards to plaintiffs. The truth is, of course, far more complicated. First off, when did it become fashionable to loathe our "trial by a jury of your peers" system of justice? Because that is essentially what anyone who is on the "tort reform" side of the fence is doing; they are bashing our system of justice and making it clear that they do not trust a jury of 12 to make an informed decision based on the facts presented. My questions is this; if we can't trust a jury in a med-mal case, than how can we trust them with anything? If you make the assumption that the jury system is fatally flawed, then you'd better have a good explanation about what you're going to replace it with. Do the neocons and the corporations behind this movement want all cases simply heard before a judge? Maybe. They figure they can stoke courts with "their own" and turn law on its ear. By the way, it cracks me up to hear The Right talk about "liberal activist judges" making law, while all they really want is a bunch of "conservative idealogues" making law.

No. I believe doctors are just getting their due. While plaintiff's lawyers may get rich off their mistakes, that does not mean that the mistakes were not made, or that someone who is maimed for life should not get a hefty settlement. Doctors have long been able to hide behind an almost inpenetrable barrier. And while things like M & M meetings serve a useful purpose, they also tend to perpetuate a system of secrecy and lack of accountability. Doctors have even battled against improving drug prescription processes (which could help elimate the needless deaths of thousands each year) simply because they don't want to bother learning something new or dealing with a new technology. No, the bottom line here is that we need to smack the medical profession upside the head. Stop treating them like gods and a lot more like garage mechanics.

I hate stupid people. I realize that most of them can't help themselves. They were born that way. But it does not relieve me from the dreary and often painful and occasionally infuriating necessity of dealing with them and their stupidity. Tonight I had a run-in with the son of the man who used to live next door. He and his brother have had the dead parent's house on the market "by owner" for over a year at an inflated price that they are never going to get. Anyway, one brother had said we could park in the driveway if we needed to. Well, over the last year, we've parked there maybe 10 times, generally when there were no spots on the street. We figured the dead parents didn't mind. Though who knows. So, we come out of the house to go out to dinner and the older brother has his car parked blocking our egress from the driveway, and is obviously pissed that my wife, who has a broken foot and who came home upset from the Doctor's office dared park on their precious slab of concrete. Suffice to say that I lost it with this stupid shit. Moral? The gene pool is increasingly being diluted. The stupid people will out. Hell, we have a President who is the King of the Stupid People. I can't die quickly enough.