Watch this video of a doctor’s lecture on “Medpage”. He tells his fellow medical doctors how to avoid getting sued for medical malpractice. Some of his points are well taken. For example, “Care deeply about your patients”, and “communicate” well and often with them. (It’s harder to sue someone you like!).
We at Michaels & Smolak, as Syracuse New York medical malpractice lawyers, have some trouble with his last point: “At the end of the day, recognize that the American system of dealing with medical professional liability, so called malpractice, sucks, that stuff (so to speak) happens, and that many trial lawyers are the scum of sub-humankind.”
Actually, what really sucks is the medical establishment’s way of dealing with medical malpractice — ignore it, downplay it, and, of course, blame the lawyers — as this doctor does here. That’s been their modus operandi for many years now. Oh yeah, and I forgot – they also spend more time and money lobbying for malpractice reform than they spend trying to devise systems to prevent malpractice.
This attitude keeps the medical community from mending its ways. As explained in this New York Times article, medical liability has increased patient safety. Because of medical malpractice suits, safer practices are being followed than only a few years ago. For example, hospitals now hire risk managers, and do a much better job preventing infections, and anesthesiologists have developed improved safety standards, just to name a few.
Doctors must begin to see medical malpractice suits as a symptom, not the disease. A long term cure will not come from removing the medical malpractice suits, but rather the root cause of them — medical malpractice.