Every once in a while, a web headline has a way of calling out to us, "Click me!" The following column from Bloomberg columnist Anne Wollner, did just that...
(The following entry is cross-posted with ThePopTort.)
"Cap Medical Malpractice, Not Malpractice Awards," reads the lead caption. Hallelujah! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves—in fact we have.
But with so much talk in the news lately about national health care and whether limiting patients’ legal rights should be part of that, we thought Ms. Wollner’s Bloomberg column merited some attention—so let’s talk about it.
The piece opens with discussion of the medical malpractice situation in California, whose 34 year-old "cap" on compensation for injured patients was touted for years by organized medicine as the appropriate model for the country. Turns out, California should not be considered anyone’s "gold standard" for reasons we’ve never even thought about.
A California neurosurgeon named Israel Chambi, who despite being on the losing end of two malpractice claims, and losing his privileges at the hospital where he worked as chief of neurosurgery "for a medical disciplinary cause," continues to operate on people’s spines. Yes, you read that correctly—the Medical Board of California, which is fully aware of Dr. Chambi’s checkered past, has not seen fit to revoke his license because, said the board, a malpractice finding "does not necessarily reflect that the physician’s medical competence is below the standard of care."
Now, this tendency of state medical boards to look the other way when it comes to holding bad doctors accountable is anything but unique (here, here). Public Citizen’s Health Research Group even publishes an annual report on this and most recently, California ranked among the worst!).
We’ve said it before but it is worth repeating. Here’s how to reduce malpractice, injuries, claims and lawsuits: Weed out the small number of doctors responsible for most malpractice, especially repeat offenders who should not be practicing at all.