Friday, March 25, 2011

Malpractice Lawsuits

I have often wondered why some people are so quick to sue. There seem to be some who think the best resolution to a problem is to sue the person who bothers them - the neighbor who chopped down a tree that shaded their yard, the owner of the barking dog, etc. You get the point. They think someone did them wrong so therefore they must get even by filing a law suit.

Then there is the issue of medical malpractice. Doctors aren't perfect and medical science is not perfect either. Sometimes things don't come out right. Maybe there is an error during the procedure - if they amputated the wrong leg, took out the wrong organ, or operated in the wrong place - those are real problems and probably deserve some kind of compensation. But then there are the expectations of the patient and the end results. When I had gall stones I would get pain in the top of my left shoulder after eating rich food - after surgery I still get the pain but not as badly and it may never go away. Or after breast cancer surgery, I have shoulder pain which may never go away.

But when should you sue. If you ask me, almost never. But this article gives an idea of when you should or shouldn't.

1. If you recover from the procedure, your case probably won't be heard.

2. If you have a complicated medical history that complicates the procedure, you probably don't have a case.

3. If you receive standard care - it doesn't matter if the doctor had the bedside manner of a slug.

4. If your outcome was within acceptable risk - remember that disclaimer you signed? All surgery has its risks and you will probably always end up with a scar after.

5. If there are other ways to address the problem - meet with the doctor to get your answers, don't sue them.

And most malpractice cases are rejected. To all you lawsuit happy people out there, if you do sue and lose you could still have to pay the defendants legal bills - so you might be wise to think before you call your lawyer.

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