Obama Voices Support For Limiting Malpractice Medical Suits And Add Drugs and Devices-Need Better Safety Information and Recall
Posted Jan 30 2011 2:43am
As the article from the Los Angeles Times states, this took all by surprise. We have it in California and it has been in place for years. In addition new provisions suggested even going further with malpractice to include errors from drugs and medical devices. In California the limit is $250,000 for a life time benefit for those winning a lawsuit. There’s definitely both sides to this story too. When you bring in drugs and medical devices we have a whole new picture.
Not too long ago I was speaking with an MD friend in New Zealand and we were talking about malpractice and how it is done there. He said that is one issue that Americans who travel to New Zealand for procedures would need to adjust to, in other words if something goes wrong with a surgical procedure as an example, it is considered a “mistake” and it is corrected and at that point the patient doesn’t pay again but there is no fee for any additional surgical procedures done. He said their malpractice is minimal in the country compared to the US.
Now in order for something like this to get closer to a reality in the US, I don’t think you can just do a blanket law by any means. Drugs and devices are a different situation and gee we don’t even have a program from the FDA to promptly advise consumers when items have been recalled for an example, so what if damages occur as a result of an item that was perhaps recalled and missed from being removed from the hospital inventory? This happens and devices fail and people die, and yet they are discussing limitations in this area without any consumer education and instant information? You can read more on the recall side of this at my year long project suggesting using bar codes for recalls and patient information. Right now we are doing pretty much nothing for the consumer and I would think if some corrective actions were take in this area, then we could move on to further discussions with drugs and devices.
Granted we need to find solutions for the cost in healthcare but we also have to look at the other side, the documentation and loss of production that can occur and the life and death decisions doctors have to make, and of late there’s been little or no concern for the consumer either. We have no role models, just many so called experts that have never used any of the consumer products they tout, and thus we have a society of non trust. Here’s an example of what I call the “non participants” needing reports on many items they could answer for themselves if they engaged in general consumer literacy.
I really do get tired of the items in the press that keep belittling the consumer and when you have those at the top that have no clue and don’t use what they are professing for “those guys over there” well, we have no trust.
In summary, until we get all players on the same ball field and team, I think that the lifetime malpractice with adding on devices and drugs is going to be a tough road and I also predict we may have more angry consumers until both the government and businesses come out of the closet and start using some consumer health IT products themselves, and until then, we keep getting the duh effect here.
President Obama took both Republicans and normally supportive patients' rights advocates by surprise this week when he voiced support for a national limit on medical malpractice lawsuits. "I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs" besides repealing his healthcare overhaul, Obama said in his State of the Union address, including "medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits." The president's words breathed new life into the often discussed but never enacted Republican initiative. Last week, House Republicans held a hearing to decry the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits, which they blame for rising healthcare costs. They introduced a bill to set a $250,000 limit on damages for pain and suffering caused by "any healthcare goods or services or any medical product."