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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Life is hard

I shouldn't have gone through the Yellow Pages® yesterday counting up all the malpractice attorneys in the area. The practice of medicine is too uncertain, and combined with seeing yet another article reminding us of the huge increases in malpractice insurance premiums, it can quickly generate a panic attack.

Just over the past week, I've had to deal with areas of tremendous uncertainty. An elderly woman is dying and none of the seven doctors on the case are quite sure why. We do know that the end is near and that the family needs to come to grips with end-of-life issues. Some of the family believe that if they just had smarter, better doctors, she just might stand a chance of recovery. Could they turn around and sue us?

Another patient had a post-polypectomy bleed. When we remove a growth with a colonoscope, we cauterize where the polyp was in order to prevent bleeding. The literature quotes about a 1/300 chance of a delayed bleed from the site; for reasons which may simply be blind, dumb luck, my own rate has been closer to 1/2000. That 1 out of 2000 came into the hospital last week, requiring blood transfusions before the bleeding finally stopped. Could she turn around and sue me?

I don't do high-risk cases these days, but a young gentleman requires some tricky work, and no one else will do it, and the parents are very nice, and doc won't you please make an exception just this once? I did the procedure today, and now I await notification from the nurses that the patient is having some gruesome side effect for which I'll get sued, even though the procedure went without a hitch and I have no reason to believe that they'll need to call.

Thank goodness for Krispy Kreme donuts! Two or three of those and life once again is good.


Blogger Gorilla said...

Thanks for visiting my blog site. Life is hard! That's part of why I took early retirement. I can't resist taking periodic digs at attorneys. They are something, despite the fact I have a number of friends who are attorneys. In social settings they're OK, but in the courtroom, they change 180 degrees.

10:59 PM  
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God luck with it : )

2:56 PM  
Blogger wholl resources said...

Looking for breast cancer information I came across this post. I totally agree with you and would feel the same way!


12:43 PM  
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2:32 AM  
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4:26 AM  
Blogger Gordon said...

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2:14 PM  
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8:37 AM  

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