Or. . . . What Would Healthcare Be Like Without Trial Lawyers?
This is another in my "what would life be like without trial lawyers?" (and jury trials) series. Glad everyone is enjoying it.
As many as 440,000 people die every year in hospitals from preventable medical errors, making this the third leading cause of death in the nation. Medical malpractice cases are often decried as manipulation by trial lawyers, but who's doing the "decrying?" The small percentage of the worst doctors, hospitals, nurses and medical providers. The medical malpractice insurers who are constantly and cynically attempting to manipulate the civil justice system to maximize their profits and minimize their payouts. Of course, those elements get the good health-care providers to get all worked up about the imaginary "crisis" in malpractice insurance, and thus those bad healthcare providers and insurance entities manufacture panic.
The civil justice system has served as a valuable deterrent to medical malpractice as a way of holding malpracticing medical providers accountable. It is the most powerful motivator for patient safety.
Do you want to be safe? Do you want your family to be safe?
Hospital-acquired infections infect 2 million hospital patients each year and as many as 90,000 of those people die. It is in response to lawsuits by trial lawyers that hospitals have introduced mandatory hand washing programs and other hygiene initiatives. It wasn't "self-policing." It wasn't the government.
Did you know that more than 50% of all instances of medical negligence are caused by the same 5% of bad doctors? Most of the providers sued for medical malpractice have a history of committing malpractice before and, if they're not checked and held accountable through the civil justice system and by juries, they'll continue to do so.
The pharmaceutical industry pretends that it cares about your health, but what it cares about is profits. Dangerous side effects of drugs are secondary to profits. They'll deploy drugs that are lethal and unsafe - just listen to the list of side effects for your average drug commercial nowadays - unless they are held accountable by trial lawyers and juries.
Johnson & Johnson released a drug called Propulsid which caused cardiac arrhythmias. Of course its manufacture reaped $1,000,000.00 in profits, but it took litigation to highlight Propulsid's problems, and it was this litigation that took the drug off the shelves. If you think that a billion dollar product didn't grease the palms of legislatures who were going to protect the industry unless trial lawyers and juries stopped them, you're naive.
As many as 1500 surgical sponges and surgical instruments are left inside patients after surgery every year. That's a staggering number for such an easily prevented mistake. It's in response to medical negligence lawsuits that hospitals now take a complete inventory before and after operations to ensure no items are missing.
What makes medical care better? Is it legislatures paid by the American Medical Association and by the multi-billion dollar medical malpractice lobby? It is it doctors who want to pay as little as possible in medical malpractice premiums? No. It's trial lawyers and juries.