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View Diary: Medical Error, Liability, and Murtha (322 comments)

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  •  Tort reform! (8+ / 0-)

    Fits nicely on a sign or a bumper sticker. I was having lunch with a guy who repeated the "Tort reform" meme as a way of curing all of our health care cost problems.

    I explained to him how Texas has limited liability to $250k and then I asked him "What if you had surgery for a gall bladder, appendix, or whatever, and the anesthesiologist fell asleep and rendered you massively brain injured and unable to care for yourself?" "Assuming you could find a lawyer to fight your case for free, how long would that $250k take care of you before your wife would have to declare bankruptcy?"

    He didn't answer.

    You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

    by RustyCannon on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:06:05 AM PST

    •  But the lawyer will take the case on contingency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wenchacha, RustyCannon

      Probably take 1/3 the recovery, after payment of out of pocket costs (mailing, long distance calls, copying fees etc.)  So a recovery of $250,000 would mean he would get a max of $150,000 to $160,000.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:14:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  in your hypothetical (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RustyCannon, cap76, erush1345

      the amount of actual damages would be in the millions.  Only the "non-economic" damages would be capped.  And, yes, the lawyer would get 30-50 % of the entire amount.

    •  Only non-economic damages are capped (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RustyCannon, cap76

      The problem many doctors and insurers have is the pain and suffering limit. because juries can and have awarded millions for pain and suffering, doctors and hospitals are reluctant to take cases without malpractice to court.

      Future disability, lost wages, future medical costs are all part of economic damages and should not be capped.

      •  I've misunderstood. (0+ / 0-)

        I thought economic damages were also capped. I agree that they should not be capped.

        If noneconomic damages are: "...intangible harms such as severe pain, physical and emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life that an injury has caused, including sterility, loss of sexual organs, physical impairment and loss of a loved one, etc.", I don't think that a $250k cap is realistic, especially if there is no mechanism in the law to allow for inflation over time.

        You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

        by RustyCannon on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:55:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we have something in common (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I honestly do not know the exact law. In some states they may be capped. I do not think they should.

          $250K may be too low, I agree. Make it 500K or 750 K, or 1 million. Adjust it with inflation. Also limit it based on extent of injury.

    •  the CBO recently estimated that nationwide (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PAbluestater, RustyCannon

      tort "reform", including caps on recovery, "credit" for other sources of liability, severe limitations on statutes of limitation, etc. could reduce total national healthcare spending by . . .  wait for it . . . 0.2 percent or about $11 billion in 2009. If the only goal is to reduce the total spend on healthcare, why are we going after these small potatoes when for-profit insurance siphons off 30% of our health care dollars without saving a single life, or doing anything to promote patient safety?

      Years from now, the children of DLC-ers will sit around campfires telling stories about what happened to Martha Coakley in 2010.

      by output on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 08:57:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I couldn't agree more. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There is something like 160 amendments from the cons, inserted in House committees, and from what I can tell, every time they amend the bill, it cuts down on the savings. Single payer would be the cheapest. A public option would save much more than the present bill.

        You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. Jeannette Rankin

        by RustyCannon on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 09:03:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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