Medical Malpractice Whiners
This is just the way I see things, and it may be a short sighted or narrow point of view, but I am always open to other peoples views and even being re-educated if I don’t see too clearly on a particular subject.
I hear stories, and I see the news, and I hear complaints all the time about how doctors/physicians are leaving their practice, or leaving the ER of a hospital or even as much as leaving the hospital all together because of the cost of malpractice insurance premiums. One Doctor in Commerce, Ga, left his job as the only On-call General Surgeon at his hospital and took up a teaching job on the side in a public school. I’m sorry….but, BOOHOO! When I hear about things like this, a number of issues come to mind, not the least of which is: Is being a doctor about being a doctor, or about the money, the big house, the expensive luxury car, and the TEE time at the golf course?
When I think about the number of doctors out there, I think of them as an elite group of people who save lives, cure illnesses, and are true humanitarians at heart. Unfortunately, there are 3 kind of doctors we generally see on a regular basis, those that put the Band Aid on, those that find cures, and those that do both. There are an alarmingly few number in the “both” category, and an insanely overabundance of the “Band Aids” category.
What I don’t understand is why a doctor can’t do what the rest of the middle class wage earner does, and that is, live on a budget that affords them a somewhat nice three bedroom home in a not so ritzy neighborhood with an average $30k car that may or may not be brand new, and after paying the “necessities” (like utilities, food, car insurance, medical insurance, etc), end up with only $300 or so a month in “spending” or fun cash. This is not to say that there aren’t far MORE people who have less than that and can’t even afford a car and medical insurance so they have to decide which of the two they need most, let alone have anything left over at the end of the month at all.
A doctor should be “happy” that what he earns pays his [necessary] bills (even if its break even), and pays his medical malpractice insurance even if that premium is the largest bill he has or is 3, 5, 10 times bigger than all his other bills combined IF he is doing it for the love of his work, because in his heart is what drives him, and is the kind of work that he feels gives him the most self worth as well as worth and value to his community, and if he has a couple hundred at the end of the month to use to save up for a vacation once every 3 to 5 years (which is more than most people get to do), then what’s the problem?
To me, there is no problem. All I see is doctors complaining that they will not get to play golf on Friday afternoon, or drive a Mercedes or BMW (or both), and don’t get to build a stock portfolio with the latest and greatest “hot” stock tips, because their malpractice insurance is too costly. I’m sorry, but it appears to me that though the vast majority of doctors are NOT complaining, because they ARE happy that they are making good money and can still pay the extraordinary cost of the malpractice insurance, the rest are the ones making it bad for everyone because of their selfishness and their ill-begotten motive for being a doctor to begin with (money).
It also appears to me that this is not a problem that is isolated to just problematic acute pain in the ass doctors who care more about the money, causing their own grief by not being the best at their job which in turn causes someone to sue them for malpractice, than their work and their patients. It seems to be systemic to include our societal laws, and aggressive lawyers who are “paid to win” not “paid to do what is right”, or “paid to protect the innocent”.
There are so many factors tied into a situation where a doctor is sued for malpractice to range from a “sue happy America” who will sue for any reason to get something for nothing, to the malpractice insurance company who will send their best lawyer in so the insurance company wont have to pay, but instead do what THEY are in business for, and that is to take in the doctor’s premiums, NOT pay out on malpractice claims. There are, of course, far more issues tied into this one, but it all leads to one end result about making money, and not doing your job because of what it means to you as a person, and that is, “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, and then a few bad apples like the whiners and complaining few rich doctors and lawyers and insurance companies, make it worse for everyone because they didn’t get to play golf that week.
I may add few important points:
1- The doctor/s spend very lengthy years in medical school then residency then fellowships before earning that money. They take tons of tests. They have to spend a lot of their lifetime sacrified for reading (their career). Is that the regular lifestyle of others that you compare with?
2- The doctor/s job is highly stressfull. Not only in caring for patients medically or for the long and odd working hours but being patient with some difficult patients and families. Doctors are also managers to the entire staffs.
3- The value of any profession should go in parallel with its earnings. A physician job was always a highly respected profession by its nature.
4- A balance should be kept to protect the rights of patients and their reasonable compensation and … a possible punishment for a lawyer and a plaintiff in frivilous suits as well.
Thank you for your comment Victor. Students do spend a long time in medical school, as well other professions such as lawyers spend a lot of time in law school. There are indeed a number of professions that require years of education. However, I am not comparing one profession to another when I was relating how the majority of the population (under $60k a year) lives versus the lifestyle of the wealthy (over $100k a year).
I understand a physicians job is stressful, so are many other professions, however in my experiences with medical professionals, the RNs, LPNs, CNA’s, General Nurse Practitioners, etc are the actual people in contact with the public and bearing the burden of stresses far more often than the doctor himself.
I’m not sure I understand your third statement, but it sounds to me like you are suggesting that the value of a profession is defined by how much the profession pays. Also if respect is earned by holding a job title, then we have truly lost touch with reality. Yes, there are professions that are respectable to be in, as well there are some that are not very respectable jobs such as a repo or mercenary. It sounds like you are tying to say that a physician is more respectable than say a crew chief or avionics tech in the military, or an EMT or a bank teller or a public safety officer, etc. I just can’t agree with any of that. I don’t see any one job being of more value or respectable than any other (with those few exceptions) since the person holding the job is what brings respect or disgrace to the profession, not vice versa.
Your last statement I agree with in as much there should be consequences for filing frivolous lawsuits, thereby burdening the system. The ACLU comes to mind. There should be restrictions against filing lawsuits just to get rich, such as that of some malpractice suits and a good example is the lady that won a suit against McDonalds for burning her lap with hot coffee in their drive-thru. Some laws have gone into effect to address this issue such as the cap of $100,000 on medical malpractice suits in Florida, however this is a too broad based law and though a friend of mine died from MRSA due to “dirty” steel pins put in her broken leg, her family could not hire a lawyer who would take the case because the end result would be a percentage of the $100,000 going to the lawyer and fees and the rest to the family. In essence it was “unprofitable” and a waste of time and resources for the law firms, so the family lost a daughter to a staff infection caused by the hospital with zero compensation. There are literally thousands of these examples in the medical field alone, all because someone cared more about the paycheck at the end of the week than they did about their job, and being the best at their job. its called lack of work ethics and here it comes…they lack respect because they bring disgrace to their profession (in that incident).
I hope you understand that there is good and bad in all professions and I am not saying all doctors are bad, or all are good. The reason for my post was to express my concerns about certain ones griping about their lack of pay when they make over $100,000 a year, and their exorbitant expenses instead of just being good doctors or “the best at what they do.” It was a reflection on Doctors leaving the profession because malpractice insurance was too high. As we discussed here, the high rates are not the sole fault of the doctor, or the insurer, its a combination of frivolous suits, insurance companies ripping off professionals and some doctors who are only about the money and the luxurious lifestyle it allows them to lead.
I have to respond, if only to tell you how far away from reality your speculations and musings have carried you.
Heart-wrenching drops in Medicare payments (on which all other payments are based), medical-sector inflation and managed care have brought many – if not most – specialty practices (the fix-it doctors) to their knees. It is not a question of how long we went to school, how long are our hours or what kind of car we drive. It is now a question of keeping our doors open, paying our employees a living wage and often working month by month with no say whatsoever of how we get paid, how much and when.
And insurance, not to whine, IS a big issue. I for instance know one specialist who has to pay over $90,000 in extra insurance (in case someone sues him AFTER he leaves) just to quit a job which is at this point actually costing him money.
Your comments may have been occasionally valid 25 years ago, but I do not recall hearing much complaining then. Please keep your opinions current and they will carry you further.
This is not medical advice you need to reject.. but it may help you discuss your problems with your Doctor who seem too often to need a light into the right direction..
Did you know that a threat of public exposure, a threat of a lawsuit, is still the biggest motivator for the medical personnel as well, so as ” a good rule” never go to see a doctor alone, do see two at least, and always try to take a loud mouthed wittness as well with you.. for you will likley next get better care..
With the comfort we receive we tend to comfort other… but not always??? I know that Doctors and nurses, dieticians could do a lot better job at it.. For sure! Now also unacceptably we all next sadly we tend to find out how good good the medical system is in reality when we really need it and next much too late now too, and why too?
The still unacceptable waiting in the local emergency ward, doctor’s office.. Most sick People generally still do have to go to the emergency department over any where else cause that is the only place where they can do a decent medical test more quickly too.. and that is if you can get in pass the medical security gaurd, the head triage nurse..
May I also remind you that even a dozen hired nurses do not compensate for one medical doctor still too..