When bad things happen medically, it is not the fault of the victim. Politicians should understand that, but don’t seem to get it.
Medical malpractice is on the rise, a fact attributed to a health care system under serious pressure, bursting at the seams with people who use it like every hospital and clinic was a doctor’s office. Americans are guilty of overusing the system and overburdening medical professionals within that system, but that aside, medical mistakes are not made because people use the system too much. They are made because the health care professionals use bad judgment, made a mistake, were overtired, not experienced enough to do a particular procedure, and, well, the list goes on.
Statistics show that there are over 100,000 people a year that die as a result of medical malpractice. In fact, more people die from medical misadventure than die from car wrecks, AIDS or breast cancer. What does that say about health care? It says there is something seriously wrong and someone needs to be held accountable for making medical mistakes.
In November 2010, there was an interesting report released by the Department of Health and Human Services. It revealed that approximately 1.5 percent of Medicare recipients were victims of a medical event that killed them. If you do some math, you will realize that adds up to just about 15,000 patients a month. That bears repeating: 15,000 patients a month. Makes you want to avoid doctors, doesn’t it?
With figures like that staring you in the face, it is hard to accept that the government wants to cap medical malpractice damage awards, which in effect gives a negligent medical professional a get out of jail free card. Capping damage awards in the face of egregious med mal is punishing the victims twice; once at the hands of the doctor and again in court.
Ask yourself this question: Will taking away the rights of patients to sue for medical negligence mean there will be less negligence? Not likely. Will punishing the victims by leaving them no way to pay for their medical care, reduce the number of times med mal happens? Again, not likely.
If you were seriously injured at the hands of a medical professional, and your life substantially altered in a horrendous way, would you think it is acceptable to have a lower damage award to protect the doctor? Speak out and up about med mal caps. It could mean the quality of your life if you are ever harmed.
Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.