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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.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Virgin

My dictum:

Never hang around the doctors lounge if you're already depressed.

My deviant:

Never hang around the doctors lounge even if you're not depressed if 1. they have pizza there and you're on a diet, and 2. there's anyone else there.

"Doctors in this state are freakin' idiots!" proclaims the Virgin, an excellent, personable physician who had the misfortune of wandering, for the very first time, into the gunsights of the malpractice lawyers. "We could have gotten malpractice caps in this state if our lobbying efforts hadn't been so clearly pro-Republican. Now every Democrat in the state torpedoes any effort to clean things up around here, simply because it's the Republicans who introduce the reforms. We'll never get any meaningful tort reform around here."

We will when you and I resign, retire, or move out of this state, I thought.

"For the first time ever I was named in a lawsuit two weeks ago. The noneconomic damages are not terribly high, and I'm willing to take my chances in court with them on that. But they're asking for $5 million in non-economic and punitive damages. If I lose that, I'll be financially destroyed. I'll have to settle with those buttholes because our state medical association didn't have the sense to make tort reform a bipartisan issue."

I felt like a deer seeing it's mother getting blown away by the evil hunters. I certainly could empathize, so I endeavored to say the most encouraging things I could think of: "You arrogant fool! You're getting what you deserve. Just what do you intend to do about all the uninsured people in this country? How are you going to improve quality control? Economic ruin sounds about right for anyone crass enough to try to make money off the sick and dying. Feel free to call me any time. I'll always be here for you."


Blogger Elliott said...

Economic ruin? Even if he loses in court, the chance of losing his license is miniscule. With the license, he almost certainly can earn more than $100,000 per year with all his debts discharged and with whatever he saves from his bankruptcy. Besides, what are the chances that he'll actually lose? Why did he decide to practice without insurance?

I loved your words of advice to the Virgin; I hoped it got him thinking about how little he or she had been doing to truly solve the problems of the profession while focussing on the malpractice red herring.

I hope that in the end, the experience makes him a better doctor and a more compassionate human being in the style of our host.

3:39 AM  
Anonymous med mal underwriter said...

wow elliot... I don't know whether you are are taking irony to another level above our host or you are just plain missing the point

2:45 PM  

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