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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:21 pm 
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Moved from another thread: The first quote was made by Bill Glasheen. Thought this would be a good place for what got inserted into an interesting discussion about MA footwear. GEM
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There's also a safety and liability issue with doing sport sparring when wearing "street" or "track" shoes. You're going to get yourself into a heap of legal trouble if you start letting people spar in their Nikes and someone gets hurt. It can and absolutely will happen. There are laws about what you can do with "shod feet" on the street. Don't think some agenda-minded slimeba... I mean trial attorney won't try to use that against a dojo owner if there is money involved. Better check your dojo insurance policy and see what they say.

That being said...

No self-defense program should be run barefoot. All possible combinations of shod and unshod feet need to be experimented with. Most attacks will happen with normal street shoes on - even your Saturday night or Monday afternoon best. And you just might get attacked when walking buck naked out of your shower. Not that we need to go THAT far... Bill Glasheen


Bill, while making a valid point about kicking with a shod foot added:

"There are laws about what you can do with "shod feet" on the street. Don't think some agenda-minded slimeba... I mean trial attorney . . . "

While I believe Bill meant no offense to any particular individual, painting with so broad a brush to make a gratuitous attack is uncalled for. Don't forget that the ranks of trial attorneys have included Clarence Darrow, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, and yes, Johnny Cocharan and Vincent Bugliosi and many others. As martial artists, we should be able to appreciate subjugating personal prejudice and animus by acting in the best interest of a client. It is called duty.

There have been stories during the past year of medical researchers publishing fraudulent results regarding cloning, stem cell research, and the recent conviction of Paul Kornak in New York. Intelligent people understand the importance of medical research and do not routinely denigrate an entire profession because of the egregious conduct of a minority. Perhaps it is time for thinking people to extend the same courtesy to lawyers. If you don't think lawyers do an important job, wait until the next time you need one.

Sincerely,

Norman G. Abrahamson


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:21 pm 
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Norm wrote:

If you don't think lawyers do an important job, wait until the next time you need one.

That's a flawed argument.

I have a particular distaste for two lawyers or sets of lawyers in a situation where more battle means more cash for all of them. We tolerate these situations because we have to, and not because we love it. It would be like saying we love to go to war.

I have never, ever tried to hide my bias here. We live in a flawed system and it is run by those who perpetuate their own self interest. To me, saying that I should love or tolerate trial lawyers is like saying it is politically incorrect for me to bash Peta. Sorry... When the general interests of one organization is so diametrically opposed - in many situations - to the work and beliefs that compose my world, then I would be a fool not to develop biases. Individuals can expect fair treatment from me when I come across them. This would include two family members who are in the legal profession. But an institution gets the reputation it deserves. It would be like asking me not to be angry at The Church for hiding pedophiles from the law and perpetuating a very bad situation.

I will share an interesting story that happened to me recently.

I am in the process of "negotiating" for a pruebred dog. I went to the main online organization for the breed, and networked with people I know who have produced the very best in the breed. I am interested in bringing a dog of this breed home for my family.

Well my research led me to an individual who had a three-week-old set of puppies. We did the e-mail exchange. He encouraged me to call, and I did.

We weren't 5 minutes into the conversation when he asked me what I did for a living. It's a fair question. A breeder wants to know that a dog is going into a good home. The last thing you want is for a dog not to get a good match, and end up either in a breed rescue operation or - worse yet - the SPCA. It happens... Anyhow I told him what I did for a living. And then I got the strangest reaction. Immediately he told me I wasn't going to like him.

How could this be? How could he know? And let's remember - HE is the trial attorney. HE is the one who first mentioned the loss of love.

I'm not painting a broad brush here. I'm defining a subset of "the breed" that gives a bad reputation to the rest. And I'm holding a broader group accountable who defend the profession whenever the topic of such behavior comes up. It's legal, after all; just what is MY problem? Man... doesn't the irony of that statement make you want to break up in laughter?

The thing that I found fascinating at the end of the day is that this person was spot on concerning one behavior that he displayed. I won't go into it here, because I don't want to contribute to "gossip in the breed." But let's just say that HE knew of the BEHAVIOR that I wouldn't like - in advance. And he didn't disappoint me. He couldn't help himself.

Sigh...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:37 pm 
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Bill said:

“I have a particular distaste for two lawyers or sets of lawyers in a situation where more battle means more cash for all of them. We tolerate these situations because we have to, and not because we love it. It would be like saying we love to go to war.”

Remember Bill, you don’t denigrate the warrior, only the war. You complain about a system that seems to reward only trial attorneys. That is an uninformed argument. There are two main types of trials, criminal and civil. On the criminal side, a trial does not ordinarily benefit the defense attorney. Typically, there are two reasons to go to trial; 1) your client is innocent; and 2) your client has nothing to lose. The second scenario is more common. There is little here for the lawyer to “gain” by going to trial. The chances for success are limited. Time spent on that trial is time not spent on other cases.

On the civil side, there are many different types of litigation. By far, product liability gets the most exposure in the public because the fact patterns are interesting and easily explained. Injuries are often horrific, which makes a good story, and recovery can be huge. The vast majority of product liability cases don’t pan out. I know many Plaintiffs’ tort lawyers. They go to trial because they have no choice. There is no offer on the table, or their clients have rejected the offer on the table. Going to trial on a contingency case is a huge risk. No recovery, no fee. Meanwhile, trial preparation is extremely time consuming and often expensive. You may be familiar with the book and movie “A Civil Action” which was based on a Massachusetts case. The Plaintiff’s attorney was on the brink of bankruptcy before prevailing at trial. High risk, and skilled representation can bring great rewards. That’s not just the legal business, that’s capitalism.

Of course there are many other different types of civil litigation running the gamut from civil rights litigation, divorce, shareholder’s actions and business litigation. Each side has a lawyer, not just the “greedy” plaintiff.

I don’t know what personal experience you have had in this area, and I’m not sure how your experience with a dog breeder sheds any light on your bias. Perhaps you should return to your strengths and do some research on trial attorneys, rather than notorious cases. Make an informed decision, not an emotional one.

Sincerely,

Norm Abrahamson


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:36 pm 
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Quote:
It can and absolutely will happen.


Has it, though? In the entire history of martial arts in the United States, has a teacher - in court - been held liable for the actions of his/her student?

I've asked this question before - more than once - and have never gotten an answer.

Gene


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 11:52 pm 
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"The Plaintiff’s attorney was on the brink of bankruptcy before prevailing at trial. High risk, and skilled representation can bring great rewards. That’s not just the legal business, that’s capitalism."

Two perspectives. Norm sees the system as it is, and sees some people working within it not being bad people, and taking risks for clients. Bill sees a broken system.

Yes, a company may risk a lot setting up a lawsuit... yes, that happens. But WHY should our society set up a situation where they may win a lottery and have a perverse incentive to fight for a settlement that is ridiculously out of proportion to the supposed harm, or lack of harm (OB cases, most of the Vioxx cases, etc). It's an expensive, ineffective way to redress wrongs and just because lawyers might not get paid does not mean it makes sense for them to be drastically overpaid with some windfall--or series of windfalls.

In medicine, settlements have shot up recently like the housing market--how has the individual, and most importantly future patients? Who will sue for patients who pay more health insurance, or can't obtain medical services they need, or who fail to see improvements in care because we're too busy running around doing defensive medicine, dealing with BS claims, or not paying for improvements because we're paying off claims?

I just don't see how, if we looked at a society without lawyers and suits, and thought of the best way to ensure, say, safer healthcare and compensation for injured people, that we would ever come up logically with what we have.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:23 am 
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Norm wrote:

Remember Bill, you don’t denigrate the warrior, only the war.

Oh really? So we don't worry about warriors who don't follow the Geneva convention? So we don't denigrate high-ranking officers in support of The Third Reich? So we don't denigrate those nice fellows who hijacked civilian airplanes and flew them into buildings with innocent civilians?

It all depends, Norm.

This reminds me of a conversation I was having with my lawyer brother who formerly worked in a job where they actually produce a tangible product. He came to the legal profession after retiring from doing what I call "real work."

At least in the state of Virginia, the pit bulls go after the pit bulls. The bar association and the trial lawyer organizations are notorious for their narrow political agendas. So the attorneys here in Virginia sue when it comes time for this nonsense to be foisted upon them and on our state.

The civil litigation system is broken, Norm. Innocent people are harmed, and all we hear from those involved in this scumbaggery is that it is legal. Never mind that science on occasion proves their causes to be wrong, and society finds their behavior unethical. It's legal. So I must hush up because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings?

Bull****!!!

Norm wrote:

There are two main types of trials, criminal and civil...

I don't need the education, Norm.

And those involved in criminal law are equally at fault if they support legal organizations that lobby for unethical laws and practices. In my mind, they are equally guilty.

Norm wrote:

That’s not just the legal business, that’s capitalism.

Wrong!

What goes on in this country with the legal system is strictly an American creation. It's what happens when too many lawyers make it into political office.

Are you going to tell me that the Brits don't understand capitalism? In that country the loser in civil litigation pays all fees. I rather like that. It seems like fair capitalism to me! 8)

Norm wrote:

I don’t know what personal experience you have had in this area...

You obviously haven't read my posts, Norm. I'm hurt... :cry: :wink:

Have you never heard me cite Sutton's law? Do you know what it is?

Here are a few cases I can offer.

1) Fresh from soaking the tobacco industry, a group of well-known trial attorneys file suits in search of class action status against as many health insurance industries as they can. And why? Basically Sutton's law. It has nothing to do with justice.

None of these suits have panned out. Meanwhile, your health insurance bill goes up partially because the cost of defending against these merit-less suits must be covered.

2) In more than a few states (West Virginia and Pennsylvania are good examples) there is a shortage of obstetricians in rural areas. The poor need to drive long distances to receive obstetric care. And why? Because the OBs can't afford the roughly $200K a year it costs for their malpractice insurance. And why? Because any slimebag ambulance chaser in these states knows that they can get a judgment against an OB - and a big award - as long as they parade a deformed baby in front of a jury.

In the state of PA, Arlan Spector's son runs one of the largest such ambulance-chasing organizations in the state. It's so bad in that state that many OBs now run without malpractice insurance.

3) In reference to number 2 above, more than a few trial attorneys made millions suing OBs for delivering cerebral palsy babies. Meanwhile, the science has shown that there is no correlation between what the OB does and whether or not a baby gets CP. They use lies and a deformed baby to steal money from an innocent physician serving the public. They destroy economies, ruin careers, ruin lives, and make OB care less accessible to the poor.

And one of these A-holes recently ran for VP of the United States. I was less than kind about my remarks concerning the presidential candidate who made such a poor decision.

And isn't it interesting that this VP couldn't even win his own home state? The truth shall set you free!

:multi: :multi: :multi:

But the law didn't. :evil:

4) Concerning 2 and 3 above, there is now far more fetal monitoring because lack thereof was "cause" to win judgments against OBs in the past. For this and other reasons, the Cesarean section rate is obscenely high in this country. This is an invasive procedure, and the excessive monitoring and litigation has caused more of it.

The science is now showing just how much damage has been done both to our pocketbooks (our health insurance) and patterns of medical care.

And please don't feed me crapola about evidence-based care. I just finished writing a white paper on a product that measures it. I don't need to be lectured on it. If anything, the fear of litigation is causing a lack of adherence to evidence-based care. And I don't blame our physicians; I blame the system that causes it.

5) Perhaps you are familiar with the fact that silicone implants can't be gotten today except for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. The reason for that is because a bunch of enterprising ambulance chasers filed class action suits against Dow because their breast implants allegedly caused connective tissue disease.

Never mind the facts - we have sick women who used to be beautiful!

Meanwhile, Dow was brought almost to bankruptcy. For a while, breast cancer survivors couldn't get silicone implants to repair the damage from mastectomies.

And then the science came in. There was no (none, zero, zilch) correlation between silicone breast implants and connective tissue disease.

Did the trial attorneys give the money back? Heeeelllll no! Did Dow get compensated for damages? Heeellll no! Was there an apology given to the medical profession for all the financial losses, pain, and suffering? Heeellll no!

Will you find a trial attorney to sue these bastards? Go ahead, and good luck. There's money in it, after all... ;)

Honor amongst thieves. The system perpetuates its bad behavior.

NO EXCUSE!!!

I could go on and on and on, Norm. I have been in many facets of the healthcare industry from biomedical design to basic research to third party reimbursement to measurement of the quality and efficiency of care. I've seen way too much, and it reeks.

The system is broken, and it needs to be fixed. But don't expect the trial attorneys to change anything. What they have created is too lucrative for them to want to go back.

And that is why I am completely justified in attacking the profession at large. A reputable professional group would never perpetuate such unethical behavior.

- Bill

P.S. These discussions invariably and inevitably end up in long battles with individuals (who will remain unnamed) who want to defend the unethical behavior I speak of. It doesn't change the facts. It doesn't change what I know to be true from direct business experience and scientific evidence.

And it certainly will not stop me from attacking a profession that perpetuates a broken and harmful system. On the contrary, it just gives the arguments more publicity. What's not to like about that? :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:40 pm 
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Still waiting for any cases, anywhere in the US, where a MA teacher had to answer for his/her student....

Show me a doctor who practices "Defensive Medicine" and I'll show you adoctor who dodn't do what he/she needed to do in the first place.

Gene


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:57 pm 
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...and for everyone of those cases Bill cites - which supposedly show what's wrong with the legal system, we can come up with an equal number that show what is so right about it. Right to privacy, desegregation and civil rights, product liability and safety, workplace safety and others that are equally well known. And this proves....what?

Gene


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:00 pm 
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Gene wrote:

Show me a doctor who practices "Defensive Medicine" and I'll show you adoctor who dodn't do what he/she needed to do in the first place.

While your statement is full of bluster, you have no basis whatsoever to speak on the subject. In short, you don't know what you're talking about.

I believe Dr. Ian would be qualified. I would be qualified as well, having profiled thousands of physicians for economic efficiency and process of care.

Perhaps just one recent article in the literature will offer an alternative - and informed - opinion on the matter.
Quote:
JAMA. 2005 Jun 1;293(21):2609-17.

Defensive medicine among high-risk specialist physicians in a volatile malpractice environment.

Studdert DM, Mello MM, Sage WM, DesRoches CM, Peugh J, Zapert K, Brennan TA.

Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass 02115, USA. studdert@hsph.harvard.edu

CONTEXT: How often physicians alter their clinical behavior because of the threat of malpractice liability, termed defensive medicine, and the consequences of those changes, are central questions in the ongoing medical malpractice reform debate.

OBJECTIVE: To study the prevalence and characteristics of defensive medicine among physicians practicing in high-liability specialties during a period of substantial instability in the malpractice environment.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Mail survey of physicians in 6 specialties at high risk of litigation (emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, obstetrics/gynecology, and radiology) in Pennsylvania in May 2003.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of physicians in each specialty reporting defensive medicine or changes in scope of practice and characteristics of defensive medicine (assurance and avoidance behavior).

RESULTS: A total of 824 physicians (65%) completed the survey. Nearly all (93%) reported practicing defensive medicine. "Assurance behavior" such as ordering tests, performing diagnostic procedures, and referring patients for consultation, was very common (92%). Among practitioners of defensive medicine who detailed their most recent defensive act, 43% reported using imaging technology in clinically unnecessary circumstances. Avoidance of procedures and patients that were perceived to elevate the probability of litigation was also widespread. Forty-two percent of respondents reported that they had taken steps to restrict their practice in the previous 3 years, including eliminating procedures prone to complications, such as trauma surgery, and avoiding patients who had complex medical problems or were perceived as litigious. Defensive practice correlated strongly with respondents' lack of confidence in their liability insurance and perceived burden of insurance premiums.

CONCLUSION: Defensive medicine is highly prevalent among physicians in Pennsylvania who pay the most for liability insurance, with potentially serious implications for cost, access, and both technical and interpersonal quality of care.

I'll take the word of JAMA over yours any day.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:33 pm 
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Did they compare phsycians' practices versus the standard of care? Did they ask phsycians whether they complied with or deviated from practice standards to practice their "defensive medicine"? Do we have any data on compliance with the practice standard and malpractice litigation? I look forward these answers...if you can provide them.

And I take Norm's word over yours on legal issues any day.

More irrational rantings from sore losers....

Gene


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:37 pm 
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Gene wrote:

And I take Norm's word over yours on legal issues any day.

The saddest thing of all, Gene, is that you can't even see how funny your comments are. The more you talk, the more you prove my point.

FWIW, it took me no more than 2 minutes to find an article in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, this year, from YOUR neighborhood, which validated my point of view. There are literally hundreds more, but then you knew that.

So if you have any questions, by all means take a drive over to Harvard and have at them.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:37 am 
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My take? I think MDs are a little over-sore about the subject day to day, at least in medicine. They worry a bit more about doing things a certain way than what more often gets them in trouble--bad relationships with patients. Not outcomes, not mistakes... bad energy. Many to most people are also happy to accept that doctors are humans and humans make errors and our first reaction to every error doesn't have to be a punitive lawsuit.

However, I can also say that a few bad apples spoil the barrel. And largely, if anyone has complaints about their care in medicine, they usually (80% in my case) include a legal threat. This runs from the addict demanding demerol for "headache" in the ER all the way up to the three lawyers I've cared for who opened their conversation with a plea for quality care: not "I'm well read on medicine and medical error and would appreciate if you always shared your thinking with me and talked about our options," but rather, "I just want you to know that if I'm unhappy or you make a mistake, I'll sue you."

At certain hospitals, where the care is exactly the same because the attendings travel between facilities, the lawsuit rate is much higher. The clientele often comes in angry, like the man who was furious he had a complication from correctly dosed chemotherapy, one that he was warned about... and that he was weak (after chemo and cancer? no shocker) and fell and hurt his neck which had to be in a brace. He was admitted by his outpatient doctor at 5 pm on a friday for a feeding tube I had no means of obtaining until monday and was furious at me for that. And he offered to sue me three times during our first encounter, during which I had done nothing but listen to his furious complaints about other people and bad timing. Lawsuits are what some patients do when they're pi$$ed off. It's like honking a horn in traffic or cursing.

An in addition to making the day to day occasionally unpleasant, lawsuits HAVE made some doctors lives completely different. I'd call giving up providing obstetric care for the first time in 30-40 years a big deal. And that's how lawyers are protecting their clients and untold thousands in some areas--suing so wantonly because their cllient wanted a perfect baby but didn't pay God any insurance and now want someone to pay--that OB practices are closing left and right and people can only get their care at hospitals which have no choice.

"Show me a doctor who practices "Defensive Medicine" and I'll show you adoctor who dodn't do what he/she needed to do in the first place."

The fundamental, humongo error here is twofold.

First, this statement assumes that if the doctor does nothing that could cause the loss of the lawsuit, that is, a deviation from standard practice, that they've got no problem. I think we all know, if the trials lawyers sometimes forget, that getting sued and winning F'ing sucks--it's spirit breaking and its expensive. I've had one complaint filed against me which was investigated and the independent finding was that I was following standard of care and doing my best to help the patient survive a potentially lethal disorder. This didn't even involve a lawsuit and it was very distressing just the same.

Second, OMG, please do not listen to the subtext here which is that doctors would be fine if they only would be competent and not screw up. That idea is so thoroughly out of place in a modern discussion about hospital safety. The fact is that in unsafe hospital systems, such as ANY current model, good people doing their best make mistakes. The best response is to fix the system not to punish the individuals. For example, my hospital's paging system is lousy and response times are slow. People still sometimes use shaving before surgery instead of clippers which cause fewer infections. They occasionally give perioperative antibiotics too soon or late. We sometimes forget to give prophylaxis against clots. Complicated diabetes management isn't perfect. And ALL of these problems (which occur in all hospitals) are being targeted by quality improvement measures right now.

We'd have more time and money for these projects if we weren't spending too much money on BMW's for lawy---I mean malpractice insurance.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:54 am 
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To support Bill's point regarding defensive medicine, that is the standard practice in my experience since deciding to be my own healthcare 'gatekeeper'.

First, let me say that we have been associated with our primary care practitioners for over 15 years and like and trust them. This is purely my observation on their approach these days.

My wife's doctor, a female, wants her to come in for a visit and bloodwork just to get a prescription renewed. From a cost standpoint that is about $100 for the 5 minute office visit and several hundred more for bloodwork.

We challenged the doctor on the need for what amounted to a semi-monthly visit to get a refill of Lipitor when there was no medical necessity. All she did was say hello, record weight and blood pressure and draw blood to run a long list of tests, only one of which is necessary to measure cholestoral levels.

It turns out that the semi-annual visit/test is optional if there are any symptoms of other problems. Why double up the visits we asked? We pay for this out of pocket as we are mostly self insured. Because that is her procedure, but is not necessary if my wife did not want to come in so frequently. The cost of a $150 Lipitor prescription was essentially tripled because that is the 'procedure. When challenged, the prescription was simply handed over at the front desk.

My wife is also trapped in a semi-annual mammogram routine because about 10 years ago the radiologist 'saw something'. A biopsy showed there was nothing, absolutely nothing. But they want her back every six months just in case. More big $$$. Nothing I can find in literature dictates this process.

Likewise for me, my doctor wants to run every test and its brother, including the widely unreliable PSA test. Plus the occasional diagnostic imaging which opens the door to all manner of other diagnostics. A PSA test, which was low - about 1.2 - but was a .1 higher than before caused several visits to the urologist and all maner of dire warnings and followups, which after many $$$ spent declared my chance of a problem as 'astronomically' insignificant. If you want some fun, visit a urologist.

In addition, a diagnostic xray led to a diagnostic CAT scan that led to a full NMR scan that confirmed my sore back was caused by some worn discs. Duh, I'm over 50 and lead a vigorous lifestyle. That $30,000 adventure was reported to my insurance carrier who then tripled my annual insurance cost. Thanks guys.

Defensive medicine that ran amock and cost $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for no benefit that I can see.

And they still want more tests. I just say no!

And before my daughter graduated from VT we sent her for a physical. Big mistake. They must have thought she was running a house of ill repute from the tests that were ordered. Big $$$$. All negative of course. When we challenged the doctor about the need for that largesse she said 'didn't insurance cover it? Hell no!

Part of the defensive medicine regime is apparently a result of many doctors thinking some else pays so why worry about cost. They are definitely part of the problem.

So, we now challenge everything the doctors want to do. And do you know what? They back right off and say it really is not necessary... it is just their normal routine! UGH!

People really need to question their doctors at every step these days. They are so concerned they may miss something and be sued that they do not know when to stop.

My 2 cents.

Rich

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:00 am 
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And I am very proud to live in a Commonwealth and in a greater metropolitan area that has such great and reknown universities and scientific/medical facilities. Everyone ought to be so lucky. If we can only get the cost of housing to go down. Oh well. Such is the cost of living in paradise!

Gene


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:15 pm 
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As Gene mentioned, it is not all that difficult to find cases or results that support a position. Changes in the law or enforcement of the law due to litigation:

Requirement of police to give Miranda warnings to suspects in custody.

Right of woman to an abortion in the first trimester.

Rights of workers to be paid for time spent at work obtaining and donning safety equipment.

Enforcement of rights against discriminatory termination for military reservists under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a federal law intended to prevent an employer from discriminating against an employee called into military active duty.

Enforcement of insurance contracts where an insurer routinely underpaid for travel and other expenses related to cancer treatment.

Safer toy design.

Safer disposal and use in the environment of chemical products that cause cancer and birth defects.

Removal of faulty surgical ventilators from use.

Class actions often work to make products safer. The Firestone litigation resulted in safer tires for thousands. Other products made safer through litigation include children’s’ toys, football helmets, garage doors, and farm machinery.

Who do you think is more able to manipulate the legal system: plaintiff’s lawyers for individual consumers or large corporations that can hire as many lawyers as they want and make large political contributions? You know the answer to that question. Money talks in politics. Pro consumer changes, like some of those listed above, are often made as a result of monetary damages being assessed against a corporation that caused injury due to its products. Does that mean that all tort lawyers are selfless white knights? Of course not. Everybody wants and deserves to be paid for their work.

Medical malpractice suits have a different dynamic than product liability because it is personal. The plaintiff has had direct dealings with the doctor he sues. That is why Ian hit the nail on the head. A bad relationship between doctor and patient is a surer way to a lawsuit than a lapse of care. The standard of care expected of a doctor is that of accepted standards of practice, given advances in the profession, at the time of the incident. The standard is not infallibility. That fact is known by competent med/mal plaintiff’s attorneys. I suspect that there is little correlation between irate patients screaming they’ll sue and successful lawsuits. It is a cop out for doctors to blame all of their practice ills on attorneys. Not every unnecessary test can be blamed on lawyers. And if a doctor is more careful in treating a patient because she’s afraid of a lawsuit, is that a bad thin?

Winston Churchill made a comment about democracy that fits our legal system: It is the worst system there is, except for all the others that have been tried. There is no doubt that some lawsuits have poor or unintended results. There are unethical and negligent trial attorneys, but most are both competent and conscientious. To label all trial attorneys as “scum” is unfair, ignorant and uninformed. I don’t expect to change somebody’s mind about trial lawyers, and that was not the purpose of my original post. I do expect simple common courtesy, and that includes not being referred to as scum because I belong to a particular profession.

Sincerely,

Norm Abrahamson


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