From comes the story of a meeting between the trial lawyers and Obama. The bottom line is very clear. The lawyers have spoken. NO TORT REFORM

In all the jabber jabber about the high cost of health care, one major factor gets shoved under the rug. The role the suing shysters play in running up the cost of health care.

From academic studies and from the doctors themselves, it seems clear that between sixty percent and seventy five percent of the cost of medical care is a result of “mandatory procedures and redundant record keeping.” Plus a bit for the cost of malpractice insurance.

It is not at all uncommon for a doctor to carry around a digital recorder, record every detail of every patient visit, with a break between patients to record diagnoses and observations. All of which must be taken down, with redundant copies in the patients case files and in the doctors “day files.”

Why? If a patient is not satisfied with the outcome, the patients lawyer can demand access to those files. If they are incomplete in any way, the doctor will certainly wind up on the losing end of a lawsuit. The only way for a doctor to protect both himself and his employees is to document what he sees, hears, thinks, and does in excruciating detail so he can prove he followed accepted practices.

To add insult to injury, there are those very expensive “mandatory procedures.” For example, vertigo is almost always caused by inflammation in the inner ear. One time in perhaps ten thousand or so, something else is wrong. It may be as minor as a cellular debris buildup or a serious as a tumor.

A generation ago, the treatment for vertigo was a shot of a powerful antihistamine, and a half hour lie down. If inflammation was the problem your dizziness would have become much less severe. If something else was the problem, you would have little relief and further tests would be given as needed.

But today, thanks to the suing profession, the “further tests” have become mandatory. And they must come first. So you get a cancer screening, whether you need one or not. And you will get no treatment until the the “mandatory procedures” are finished, and you get a serious dose of cancer causing radiation in the bargain. So what should be a $75.00 doctors visit becomes a $3,500.00 ordeal.

The bottom line is that a $250.00 a month health insurance premium becomes a $900.00 a month health insurance premium. A $100.00 deductible becomes a $500.00 deductible. And thanks to the shysters health insurance eats up far too much of your income and mine.

But Obama has his orders. No tort reform. The lawyers will keep on building those McMansions, driving those BMW’s – and stashing it away in bales.


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  1. Nice post. Of course, we physicians are wasting billions of dollars on defensive medicine, tests that patients do not need that have risks of complications. I speculate that 30 or 40% of CAT scans are not medically essential. The system is crying out for tort reform, but I don’t see it coming. See under Legal Quality.

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