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

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  •  It is not a binary issue. "Mistakes" in medicine (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stitchmd, virgomusic, eyesoars, Gravis

    do not require incompetence.  The only way to prevent them is to refuse treatment when treatment is difficult.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:26:26 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm talking about financial recovery (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      If there was a mistake, the victim should receive recompense. If it wasn't malpractice, I wouldn't expect any sort of exemplary damages, but the patient cannot be expected to control the competence or quality of care of the medical staff.

      •  Then let's lose the word mistake for a moment. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that compensation for incompetence or negligence is appropriate, but, let me offer a terrible scenario that actually happened to my family:

        My sister-in-law was diagnosed with a very aggressive late-stage cancer of the brain stem near the end of a pregnancy.

        I don't know why it wasn't caught sooner, but the symptoms we did notice -- she was somewhat pale and easily tired -- could easily be attribute to her pregnancy.  The tumor was discovered only after she suffered a terrible headache.

        My nephew was delivered by Caesarian, and my sister-in-law's surgery took place two days later.  The surgeon was unable to safely remove the tumor, and my sister-in-law suffered a stroke on the operating table.  She never woke up.

        Things don't get much worse than that:
        Young woman dead,
        husband widowed,
        children left without a mother, one having spent only a day with her.

        So, who's at fault here? The obstetrician who didn't catch her cancer because he was paying attention to her pregnancy?

        She might have been better off not getting the surgery, and possibly living a few days longer, but she and my brother agreed to take a risk on life and the surgeon was willing to try to save her.

        Who should be punished for that?

        Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

        by dinotrac on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:43:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "If there was a mistake" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac

          Your scenario appears to be a no-win situation.

          •  Not sure. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            freelunch

            It's possible that he could have saved her, had he approached the surgery just a little differently, but we'll never know.

            People have to make plans and choices without perfect knowledge.  Sometimes they'll work out, sometimes they will, in hindsight, turn out to be "mistakes".

            I believe that the surgical team did the very best job that they could do with the knowledge and skills that they had.

            It didn't work, but they did all they could to give her a shot at life.

            Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

            by dinotrac on Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 11:49:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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