Do People File Frivolous Medical Malpractice Suits To Get "Time and Attention" From Their Doctor?

What is the real reason behind the medical malpractice crisis in this country? Could it be medical malpractice victims and “unethical lawyers” who file lawsuits solely for “time and attention” from the physician? Apparently, that”s what some doctors think.

Example number one is this quote from the doctor at Brain Blogger:

Studies have shown that patients who ultimately file a lawsuit are looking for something from the physician. Usually it is time and attention and not money. Unfortunately, money typically is the solution when it gets to that point. Unfortunately, given that the system is set up so that physicians settle out of court, the physician can be penalized by frivolous claims.

Wow-that”s a new one. Let me see if I have this straight. A person who is now unable to work and permanently disabled after a bad doctor makes a careless mistake is only bringing a lawsuit because they want the doctor”s “time and attention?”

Where is the research to support this conclusion? Has he actually talked to patients who have been victims of malpractice? Has he spoken to a young mother is permanently disfigure because a bad doctor misread her mammogram?

Here”s another doctor quote to add to the mix. The doctors over at Physician Entrepreneurs are encouraging all physicians to “band together” against frivolous medical malpractice suits. Here is the main argument from the post:

Doctors who have had enough with frivolous lawsuits have banded together to analyze frivolous lawsuits and take action to discourage unethical lawyers, their paid “experts”, and others from participating in future lawsuits .Medical Justice, launched in 2002 is a membership-based organization designed to complement tort reform and head off frivolous lawsuits.
The service started by a neurosurgeon and attorney has two important components. First, they look at the quality of the so-called expert-witness testimony..

These doctors have started a whole organization to stop “frivolous lawsuits” brought by “unethical lawyers.” Sounds pretty noble right? Not when you stop to look at the facts.

What benefit does a lawyer get for filing a frivolous lawsuit? Number one, there are sanctions and penalties against such actions. Number two (and most importantly), it would make no economic sense whatsoever for a lawyer to file a frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit. Malpractice lawyers work for free – which means that they do not get paid unless they win. Therefore, the cost of experts, research, medical records, etc. is financed personally by the attorney. If they lose or the case is thrown out, the only person that takes a hit is the lawyer. Why then would any business person in their right mind waste resources on a case that has no merit. Here, at MinFirm we screen out and reject about 100 cases for each one we take. Each case is screened by a lawyer, a nurse and a doctor before it ever gets to court.

Like MinFirm, most malpractice attorneys are very selective in the cases that they take. Lawyers may have a reputation for a lot of things, but they are definitely not stupid. And in my opinion, putting out thousands of dollars to bring a frivolous lawsuit is stupid.

It”s even more stupid to suggest that victims of malpractice bring suits for “time and attention” from their doctor. I”m pretty confident that people can find a more constructive way to make friends and get attention than submitting themselves to scrutiny by defense lawyers hired by billion dollar insurance companies.

Sounds to me like these “doctors” are really just the mouth pieces for the insurance industry lobbyist. The majority of good caring doctors believe that patients are entitled to be fairly compensated for injuries by bad doctors. The insurance industry efforts would be better spent “banding together” measures to implement safety procedures and standards to stop incidents of medical malpractice and weeding out doctors that carelessly hurt people.

For further information on medical malpractice lawsuits in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, click on the following link:
Medical Malpractice Lawyer In NJ

How Can I Find Out If My Doctor Has Been Involved in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

I stumbled across an interesting website this morning- you can check it out at is a basically a watchdog site where you can look up information on any doctor, including whether or not he/she has any malpractice settlements in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia or West Virginia.

In addition to doctor reports, the site also gives patient safety ratings on local hospitals and nursing homes. I actually experimented with the nursing home feature to see what kind of information was returned. Surprisingly, their reports were very comprehensive and provided a lot of useful information for those looking for a quality nursing home facility.

And while the nursing home information that I pulled up was free, the medical malpractice search was not. The site charged a fee of $7.95 for a one-time malpractice settlement search and then an additional $4.95 for a monthly doctor update. For those who remain undeterred by the initial fees, here”s what the national media has to say about the site:

Find the Best Doc – Rating Systems for Doctors

Aren”t there already Web sites out there that provide these types of ratings? Couldn”t I look you up on the Internet and try to find out more about you, Dr. Gupta?

Yes, you could and people have already done that… There is a Web site HealthGrades that you can do that sort of thing. You go on there and type in your doctor”s name to get a report. Some of these reports have a fee where you actually pay for them but some of them are free. You look up the types of procedures the person does and there is patient feedback
– CNN News, January 8, 2008

Rating Your Doctor

Word of mouth has always played a big role in medicine. A doctor”s reputation is constantly being shaped by conversations among current and potential patients…

Online services like already analyze public and private records on physicians, hospitals and nursing homes, providing a more detached look at how well they perform…”
– TIME Magazine, January 4, 2008

Free Legal Advice: Medical Malpractice

"Arrogance, Abuse, Fraud and Medical Malpractice: How Some Physicians Beg for Lawsuits"

I read an interesting article today by MC Kean entitled “Arrogance, Abuse, Fraud and Medical Malpractice: How Some Physicians Beg For Lawsuits.” Kean basically turns the table on doctors who are portraying medical malpractice victims as “sue happy” and exposes the real greed fueling medical malpractice suits which lies within the medical community itself.

Keen states, “Physicians and mass media often depict patients and their lawyers who file lawsuits against doctors as greedy, money-grubbing opportunist. 1 It turns out this is more projection than reality. A 1990 study by Harvard researchers of 31,000 medical records subjected to evaluation by practicing doctors and nurses, “found that doctors were injuring one out of every 25 patients (latter studies put that figure closer to one out of every seven patients), and that only 4 percent of these injured patients sued.” 2 Another Harvard study of 1,452 malpractice lawsuits found that more than 90 percent of the claims evidence supported medical injury and 25 percent of the time the patient died, 60% of these injuries resulted from physician wrongdoing. The study also found when “baseless” malpractice suits were brought they were “efficiently thrown out.” Only 145 of 515 patients suffering injury, but where physician fault was unclear received compensation. On the other hand, 236 cases were thrown out of court despite evidence of injury and physician error.”

Keen then outlines some of the ways in which doctors and hospitals profit from medical malpractice. I have summarized them as follows:

  • Kickback Driven Medicine- Doctors will prescribe medication and implant medical devices that are either inappropriate for that patient or ineffective for the sake of money. Keen found that “in one study one third of the doctors interviewed, “admitted they would order unnecessary MRI scans and 25% referred patients to an imaging center where they had a financial interest”.”
  • Promoting Unnecessary Surgeries- Doctors will often fail to disclose alternate or less radical form of treatment, even when they know the alternate treatment is a safer choice.
  • Bait and Switch- This refers to a doctor switch during surgery. A person will take their time to choose a surgeon based on bedside manner, qualifications, etc., only to find out that a resident or less qualified doctor actually preformed the surgery while they were under anesthesia. The original surgeon then moves on to a higher paying client while the resident who is on salary operates on you with no supervision. Consequently, the surgeon is paid for two major surgeries while only performing one.
  • Unnecessary Procedures and Exams for the Sake of Training- Unnecessary procedures are not only ordered for patients, but they are prolonged for the sake of training. Multiple students will take turns practicing the same procedure on a sedated patient. Keen states that “informed patients while often willing to accept one or two trainees, are less likely, for example, to consent to their pelvic or anus being penetrated multiple times by multiple people. This gang bang approach to teaching is very abusive”.
  • Physicians Will Lie- Keen points out that “doctors are often arrogant and indifferent to the very concept of informed consent. Physicians patronizingly claim to know what is best for patients, while they fail to listen or respond to expressed needs, violate patients expressed will, and even do things to patients they would not allow be done to themselves”. He claims that doctors will do as they please and lie about it if it becomes a problem.
  • Physicians Target the Poor – Because of their lower income level and at times lower IQ, Keen claims “physicians target the poor, mentally disabled, and seriously ill patients who are heavily dependent upon the medical access they receive, as they are less likely to file lawsuits”

Among Keen”s many suggestions to combat some of the issues listed above ( such as being skeptical of any doctor who tries to coerce you into taking medication, undergoing several MRI”s etc.), I think the best suggestion he offers is the following:

“When you find a doctor has abused you; let the rest of us know. Post flyers, post adds, get the word out about that doctor. Start an Abusive Doctor boycott list web site in your area. As we boycott those physicians and seek care with more ethical practitioners incentives may shift a bit.”

It is so important for patients to speak out regarding medical malpractice. Doctors and hospitals have the financial backing to silence the few outspoken critics who attempt to rally congress against malpractice lawsuit caps and tort reform. With enough public outcry and bad PR for those doctors and hospitals that injure patients, change will slowly start to take place.

Admittedly, doctors are human and mistakes will happen even under the strictest regulations and safety procedures. However, it”s the careless errors that we can prevent by drawing attention to these problems. Public outcry will weed out the doctors who continue to abuse patients for the sake of money or those who continue to injure patients because they know they can get away with it.

For further information on medical malpractice or medical malpractice lawsuits, click on the following links:

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys