There has been much debate about health care over the last few months. One of the issues that is being brought up over and over again is whether or not tort reform and limits on malpractice suits actually will save money. Some people say it does because doctors will not have to spend so much money ordering special tests and treatments for patients when it may not be needed. Should a price tag really be put on good medical care? What if a doctor did not order a test or treatment because they thought it was not needed and then later discovered that it could have helped? For situations like these that happen every day in millions of hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes in every state, we still need our malpractice rights. It is still possible that even with universal coverage those doctors may make a medical error either because they want to cut a cost or because they just did not pay enough attention. States that have medical malpractice caps and tort reform are not actually saving any more money than those who do not have them. So why should we deny patients the right to good medical care and treatment when we are not really saving any money by doing so? Everyone, even the doctors that see patients every day, should have the right to speak up if their medical care is inadequate or if there is a problem. This should be a basic right as a person and an American. Malpractice caps do not save money on health insurance so why take away a person’s right to good medical care and treatment and the right to sue if they do not receive it? The logic just does not make sense.
People in this country have the right to free speech as well as many other rights and that should always include the right to speak up about medical errors and malpractice. These rights should be totally different than the health insurance debate because there should not be a price tag on person’s right to good proper medical care.
If you would like more information on the health care debate and malpractice rights, you may visit this link.
If you or a loved one has been injured or abused due to improper medical care, contact a medical malpractice lawyer right away. They will help you advocate for your right to be heard and receive the care you deserve.
In our society, we have been taught through tort reform and other actions to fear and hate trial lawyers. Many people have come to believe that lawyers do not really care if their client has been injured or if their rights have been violated because it means more money for the lawyer. Many people have come to believe that lawyers do not really care about the health care and well being of their loved ones because the money they get will help them take care of their own loved ones. Every time a lawyer has tried to say that they care about people’s rights, someone else has always been there to say they really do not. People and tort reform have done a good job to make lawyers seem greedy and selfish and given the good ones and the ones that work hard for our rights a bad reputation. This means that lawyers have to stop speaking about what good they will do and actually do it. They have to start persuading juries and the people that their acts are purely selfless by doing selfless good work just for the people. The only way people will begin to see that lawyers are not just all about the money and power but that they care for people and their rights is by showing them through their actions. Supporting people over profits and other similar organizations and groups and being out there in the community with people that are being abused, injured and neglected will help trial lawyers that are for the people gain trust and respect from the people they work for to help and protect.
People learn by example. If they continue to see trial lawyers performing selfless acts for the people, then they will slowly learn again not to fear and hate lawyers and they will know that lawyers are truly are on their side and fighting for their rights.
For more information on what trial lawyers are doing for the people, you may visit:
“As far as Kia Moore is concerned, the health insurance system miserably failed her and her 20-month-old son. Xavier Hylton was born at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden with two malfunctioning kidneys and requires daily dialysis treatments as he awaits a transplant. He had grown enough to medically qualify for that transplant by March, but Moore said the procedure was delayed at least six months by a struggle over insurance coverage. Today, she said, her son should already have a functioning kidney and be on his way to living a near-normal life.” (Maryann Spoto, The Star-Ledger)
Last week, citizens of New Jersey who have fallen victim to the ruthless tactics of insurance companies were given time to fume their anger to US Senator Bob Menendez. The stories Senator Menendez would hear would appall him, and only add to his arsenal to bring to Washington with the hopes of sparking health care reform. Although invited, no representatives from the insurance agencies were present for the meeting.
“It’s no secret to anyone that our health care system is badly in need of reform,” Menendez said. “There are few things more important to the families in this state than fixing it, making sure in this great nation of ours that no one goes to sleep without health coverage, that no one has to choose between paying for heat in the winter and paying for medication that keeps them alive.”
Senator Menendez called the meeting in light of a new health care system proposal authored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana. Central to the Baucus proposal is the creation of a Health Care Exchange composed of a nationwide group of private insurance companies that would be prohibited from discriminating against pre-existing conditions.
Currently, under the existing set up, patients who visit emergency rooms due to lack of coverage end up being burdens of the tax payer. In Camden alone, more tha $460 million has been spent over the past five years on charity cases. Because the proposal would require every resident to obtain health insurance, it also provides for federal subsidies for families and small businesses unable to afford coverage through the exchange.
This new proposal has received the plaudits of Jeffery Brenner, a local Camden physician. Brenner advocates a system that brings those emergency room patients into the system for follow-ups so they can receive the appropriate care and are less of a financial drain on the system.
“Somehow we lost sight of the fact that the purpose of the home-care delivery system is to heal the sick, care for wounded and prevent illness,” he said. “It’s not to make physicians wealthy or pharmaceutical representatives wealthy or stockholders or insurance companies wealthy. The patient should be at the center of the system and indeed should be our top priority.”
Until serious reform has occurred however, the best ally a patient can have when dealing with their insurance carrier is an experienced attorney.
We as individuals often feel powerless against corporate America. Big business calls the shots and the little guy is left to cope with the fallout. However, this week’s controversy surrounding the Wal-Mart healthcare recovery suit proves that the American people can still make a difference if they will just speak up and use their voice. The following story is just one example of how the American people stepped in to save a family when corporate America and the Courts would not.
Wal-Mart, the corporate retail giant started by billionaire Sam Walton, lets nothing stop its pursuit of profit. It pays its U.S. workers an annual salary below the poverty line to keep its shelves stocked full of cheap, Chinese made products. It uses Chinese manufacturers who employ (7) seven Chinese children per day just to save on the cost of hiring one U.S. union worker per hour. It keeps importation costs lower by paying millions to lobbyists to block reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission that would increase inspections of containers arriving at our nation’s ports. And, if one of its’ workers uses the company’s health insurance benefits to pay medical costs from an injury, Wal-Mart files a lawsuit against that worker to recoup the medical benefits received by its employee even though the worker paid the insurance premium for the policy.
The evil side of Wal-Mart became apparent to the family of former Wal-Mart employee Deborah Shank over the past few weeks. For many years, 52-year-old Deborah Shank earned minimum wage stocking Wal-Mart’s shelves at night while her husband and (3) three sons slept. In May of 2000, an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer owned by a large corporation crashed into her while she was driving her minivan. She suffered brain damage, lost most of her memory, and the ability to communicate or walk. Her family hired a trial lawyer who sued the tractor-trailer company for causing her injuries. The trucking company’s insurance carrier fought the claim and a jury award was limited to $700,000 for her pain, suffering and her loss of the ability to walk and communicate. After attorney’s fees and costs, $417,477 was placed in a trust to provide for Deborah’s daily needs resulting from her catastrophic injuries.
Immediately after Deborah received her settlement, Wal-Mart sued her family to recover the medical costs, which were paid by her Wal-Mart health insurance policy. As if the lawsuit was not bad enough for the Shank family, one of Deborah’s three (3) sons was killed in Iraq while serving in the United States Army. Instead of backing off and allowing the family to move on with their life and loss, Wal-Mart was undeterred and continued its suit against Deborah to recover the healthcare costs. While her own lawyer defended her against the suit, the family sank deeper into debt and Deborah became dependent on Medicaid and Social Security for a lifetime of medical care. Out of desparation, her trial lawyers and friends held fundraisers to raise money for the family who was now struggling just to get by.
After an unfortunate turn of events, a Bush appointed federal judge ruled in favor of Wal-Mart. (Wal-Mart chose not to present its case to a jury of Deborah’s peers). With nowhere left to turn, the Shank family was forced to pay Wal-Mart for the money that her health insurance put out for her care. Fortunately, just as Wal-Mart was attempting to collect the money from Deborah’s medical trust, both CNN and NBC broadcast the story of Wal-Mart’s conduct. The public outrage was apparent as bloggers and average people took to their computers and expressed their disgust with the company. Within days, the Wal-Mart PR machine went to work. Televisions ads were bought and interviews were held justifying Wal-Mart’s conduct. Wal-Mart then announced that it would not seek any further reimbursement from Deborah’s family.
First a trucking company and its’ negligent tractor-trailer driver took Deborah’s mind and broke her body. Then Wal-Mart, which earns more than $10 billion every year, tried to grab the money a jury awarded her for her injuries. Thankfully, the story does not end there. The Shank family was helped by “the little guy”- just average every day people who are also trying to get by. Her trial lawyer took on a large trucking company while the American people and media took on Wal-Mart for its greedy and selfish attempt to take Deborah’s settlement.
The moral of the story is that corporate America can be stopped if we will all speak up and use our voice. We must all support our local media outlets and trial lawyers that are taking risks and going against large industries with significant resources. And while old fashion letter writing never goes out of style, get online and blog for a quicker and more effective way to get the message across. Corporate America depends on us, the consumers, to keep them rich and powerful as we buy their goods and services. So lets learn how to use that as leverage to stand up for ourselves and our fellow citizens (such as the Shank family) against corporate bullying and greed.