*Click Here for Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions*
Of all the areas of practice trial attorneys can be involved in, medical malpractice is perhaps the most controversial. For years there has been an ongoing battle outside the court room over the fairness and morality of medical malpractice, and whether doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals and institutions should be vulnerable to the stiff penalties they can face for incidents of medical negligence, misdiagnosis and malpractice, risks that are inherent with every patient consultation they provide.
In recent years, with the advent of Health Management Organizations and other efforts to make health insurance more accessible to all Americans, medical professionals are seeing far more patients for increasingly less money. Advocates of medical malpractice reform have argued that the skyrocketing medical malpractice premiums and risks of medical malpractice lawsuits (combined with the drop in pay) associated with becoming a doctor are turning tomorrow’s best prospects for doctors and surgeons away from the medical field altogether and toward less risky professions.
Many state legislatures have been responsive to the concerns of medical professionals, their political action groups and insurance companies, establishing maximum caps on what a medical malpractice victim can expect from the mistakes of a doctor. In October, 2002, the U.S. Congress passed a medical malpractice reform bill that would create financial caps on the amounts survivors of medical malpractice could expect from pain and suffering to $250,000. The Senate narrowly defeated the bill in March, 2003, but future efforts to limit the rights of medical malpractice victims are on the very near horizon.
If these laws are ever passed nationally, they’ll help the wallets of medical professionals and the insurance companies that protect them, but they won’t help change the fact that medical malpractice incidents will continue to occur. In fact, with fewer consequences to face as a result of medical malpractice, many who argue against medical malpractice reform fear that cash-strapped hospitals will begin scaling back to much looser definitions of acceptable risk for patients. This will inevitably mean more failures to diagnose an illness; more anesthesia errors; more failures to prevent infection; more surgeries performed without informed consent; more surgical errors; more birth injuries; and more wrongful deaths. Medical malpractice reform, as it is being proposed today, can only lead to more medical malpractice cases.
No ethical attorney has an interest in the collapse of America’s medical establishment. But at the same time, no ethical attorney can refuse to seek a reasonable degree of compensation for someone whose life has been drastically changed for the worse by the negligence of a single medical professional or institution. The facts on medical malpractice don’t lie, and the facts show that incidents of medical malpractice are as prevalent as they’ve ever been, if not more so.
Our medical malpractice attorneys, Bryan Slaughter and Christine Thomson, believe strongly in the rights of victims of medical malpractice to pursue the maximum settlements allowed by law. Sure it’s true that America’s medical establishment is the greatest in the world, with doctors and surgeons breaking new ground everyday, saving and extending lives in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. But it’s also true that there are plenty of unqualified, inexperienced, incompetent doctorswithin the ranks of today’s medical profession, doctors, nurses and surgeons with poor records of performance and questionable skills who routinely harm, not help, the sick and injured. The medical malpractice laws that exist today are in place to call out and expel this breed of medical professional and enforce the highest possible standards of sound medical practice. The majority of doctors, who consistently meet those standards, have little to be concerned about when it comes to medical malpractice.
Even in the most clear-cut cases of medical malpractice, getting a just settlement or verdict can become extremely complex. Taking on a case requires a significant amount of time for any attorney, and successful attorneys know how to weigh all the factors and take care to avoid giving potential clients false hopes about what they can expect in a court of law. If you've been injured or fallen ill through the care of a doctor, you owe it to yourself, your family and your future to consult our experienced medical malpractice attorneys, Bryan Slaughter and Christine Thomson, and discuss your legal options. Through our web site, e-mail responses and phone calls, we provide answers everyday for people with medical malpractice concerns and questions. Please contact us today if you have any.