Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Say Thanks to the Front-line Doctors, Nurses, and Health Professionals

 

My husband and I are both practicing physicians on the “front-line” (he considerably more than me) of the COVID epidemic. We often hear and deeply appreciate friends, acquaintances, family members and sometimes even strangers say, “You guys are the heroes. Thank you for what you do. What can I do to help and support you?”

Here is one answer: Tort reform.

Malpractice attorneys aren’t coming to work and risking their and their families’ lives but it is a sure bet that they will be fully engaged in the post-disaster reckoning we face – hell-bent on milking the health care system and punishing front line doctors and nurses for all they are able.

New York state has done the right thing to prohibit suits for physicians making tough decisions for COVID patients, all states should adopt similar legislation immediately.

That would be a good start – a necessary one but not a sufficient one.

How about protecting decisions that have to be made on non-COVID patients in these times? Patients who have been kept on life support far longer than reasonable may have to be let die. What about protecting the doctors that have to make those tough decisions so that a much-needed ICU bed can be given to a COVID patient that might benefit?

Doctors who are sleep-deprived, stressed, and overwhelmed are more likely to make mistakes and, no doubt, will. I am not saying that medical errors should not be identified and justly compensated. I am saying that there are better ways to do it than our current tort system that leaves these decisions to juries who have little experience and even less knowledge.

Start with blinded professional expert peer-review of the case to determine if there is justification for compensation and sanctioning. Finish with monetary rewards that are determined by a fair estimate of the economic impact of the loss occurred. Make lawyers bill by the hour for their time and disallow professional compensation based on size of settlement.

Every physician has tales to tell of outrageous jury rewards. Just ask any of us. The economic impact of our current malpractice environment is however not simply the cost of the judgments rendered. The real damage it does is in the costs incurred by health care that must be delivered defensively. Every physician practicing in this country has ordered costly tests not because she or he thought it was reasonably precautious but because there is a 1/10,000 chance or less that they could end up in front of a jury facing economic and reputational ruin being grilled as to why they didn’t.

There are more, many more, ways to say “thanks.”

Federal and state governments have lifted or lightened many regulations that have hamstrung cost-effective medical practice during this crisis. Ask your representatives in Congress not to reinstate them until a thorough analysis is complete to see if there has been any harm done or benefit lost.

Our public health priorities need a full vetting. Never again should we send our health professionals and hospital workers (custodians and cafeteria workers are at risk too) into a war zone without proper safety equipment. How about the Feds requiring quarterly assurance that the requisite supply of personal protective equipment, medications, and materials are on hand in every state before allowing any other expenditures on “public health?”

That is the kind of “thank you” that I would appreciate.

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member

    I can’t imagine medical professionals would have to worry about something like that at a time like this – agree wholeheartedly and thank you for telling us not to assume that people will do the right thing. This is a very good topic that I hope our president takes notice of.

    • #1
    • April 5, 2020, at 8:29 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Deep State Doc:

    Here is one answer:

    Tort reform. 

    Could not agree more. It should have been part of the stimulus bill. 

    • #2
    • April 5, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Mark Camp Member

    Amen.

    I am glad to see that even some commenters who seem to oppose Constitutionally limited government and the rule of law*, which I don’t, agree that this is an area that needs reform.

     = = = = = = = =

    *I mean that it appears that they are proposing that the Federal Government should strip the States of their sole authority over and responsibility for tort law.

    • #3
    • April 5, 2020, at 8:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    I’ve favored tort reform ever since I took torts in law school, some 40 years ago. Unreformed torts are simply a money siphon for tort lawyers.

    • #4
    • April 5, 2020, at 9:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. Rapporteur Coolidge

    A-freaking-MEN! (Kindly forgive the enthusiasm …it is Sunday, after all) 

    Plaintiffs attorneys are a drain on productive society, and the only reason they’ve been allowed to continue is the disproportionate number of lawyers in elected office. I’ve heard about the idyllic plans for “the new normal” post-coronavirus – wide-scale medical tort reform demanded by voters would be a welcome addition to that “normal”.

    I’d also like to restore the ban on lawyer advertising. I’ve seen my lifetime quota of mesothelioma and if-you’ve-been-injured-in-an-accident ads.

    • #5
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. The Dowager Jojo Inactive

    Like like like.

    • #6
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Randy Webster Member

    Rapporteur (View Comment):
    I’d also like to restore the ban on lawyer advertising. I’ve seen my lifetime quota of mesothelioma and if-you’ve-been-injured-in-an-accident ads.

    It was while I was in school that SCOTUS decided that lawyers’ advertising was a free speech issue. Before that, we’d have called the present-day lawyers advertising “ambulance chasers.”

    • #7
    • April 5, 2020, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    How about cross-state licensing? Or, let’s get rid of the AMA–that guild forces a *lot* of inefficient practices. The sooner we replace run-of-mill doctoring with in-home appliances the better.

    • #8
    • April 5, 2020, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Rapporteur Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    It was while I was in school that SCOTUS decided that lawyers’ advertising was a free speech issue. Before that, we’d have called the present-day lawyers advertising “ambulance chasers.”

    Thanks for the historical background on the advertising issue. 

    • #9
    • April 5, 2020, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Bishop Wash Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Rapporteur (View Comment):
    I’d also like to restore the ban on lawyer advertising. I’ve seen my lifetime quota of mesothelioma and if-you’ve-been-injured-in-an-accident ads.

    It was while I was in school that SCOTUS decided that lawyers’ advertising was a free speech issue. Before that, we’d have called the present-day lawyers advertising “ambulance chasers.”

    I also thought “slip and fall lawyer” was a pejorative. About three years ago, we were sued over a year after my wife was in a car accident. I looked up the suing attorney and he called himself a slip and fall lawyer. I’m sure the driver saw an advertisement somewhere. 

    • #10
    • April 5, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. The Reticulator Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    How about cross-state licensing?

    You want to put the feds in charge of licensing? Socialized medicine, here we come! 

    • #11
    • April 5, 2020, at 9:39 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Deep State Doc Member
    Deep State Doc

     States could choose to recognize licenses from other states without going to a federal license

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    How about cross-state licensing?

    You want to put the feds in charge of licensing? Socialized medicine, here we come!

     

    • #12
    • April 6, 2020, at 12:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Thank you for your service.

    And tort reform.

     

    • #13
    • April 6, 2020, at 2:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. The Reticulator Member

    Deep State Doc (View Comment):

    States could choose to recognize licenses from other states without going to a federal license

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    How about cross-state licensing?

    You want to put the feds in charge of licensing? Socialized medicine, here we come!

     

    Yes, and I would be in favor of more of that. There are cross-state agreements in the sale of life insurance, for example. Licensing of doctors is more complicated, but I don’t know happen to know why that is not done

    • #14
    • April 6, 2020, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t understand how a Governor has the authority to limit malpractice suits by executive order. I am sure that some malpractice lawyers with try to get that knocked down later and sue, sue, sue. In six months, we will start seeing commercials for “Have you been injured by Coronavirus? We can sue someone for you!”.

    • #15
    • April 6, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Suing already.

    Walmart sued by family of deceased employee.

     

    • #16
    • April 6, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Deep State Doc (View Comment):

    States could choose to recognize licenses from other states without going to a federal license

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    How about cross-state licensing?

    You want to put the feds in charge of licensing? Socialized medicine, here we come!

     

    Or we can ditch licensing altogether. Licensing is no assurance of quality. A doctor who was licensed 30 years ago may be utterly incompetent today. More often than not, state licensing boards protect the incompetent. Doctors who testify on behalf of patients in malpractice suits often get blacklisted by their colleagues and hospitals.

     

    • #17
    • May 3, 2020, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    What if juries on malpractice suits must have medical training and experience?

    MDs, nurses, physician assistants, etc.

     

    • #18
    • May 3, 2020, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • Like