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David Mittleman
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Why Do Doctors Always Think They Are Entitled To Special Treatment?


I recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Lansing State Journal on just this topic. The truth is, it’s not just my friend and anesthesiologist Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, who takes this viewpoint – the local Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) and the national American Medical Association (AMA) group that want to place doctors above the law. They have a problem with defensive medicine because of their faulty assumption on its connection to health care costs. They also want to single out doctors and give them blanket immunity that doesn’t exist with any other type of private individual.

Frankly, it is my choice and right as a patient to want defensive medicine for me and my family. I don’t want doctors cutting corners if the technology is available. We are not in the midst of a medical or legal crisis. WE ARE IN AN INSURANCE CRISIS. WE NEED INSURANCE REFORM.

The Constitution of the United States makes the right to a jury trial in civil matters a protected right by virtue of the 7th Amendment. If a jury can decide the factual disputes in all other negligence cases, and if a jury can decide whether a person commited a crime that can be punishable by loss of libery (incarceration), then a jury can certainly decide fair and adequate damages when a doctor harms a patient, and they and their families are affect for the rest of their lives!

Doctors put their pants/skirts on just like WE do!


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  1. Steve Lombardi says:
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    Interesting post David. I’m of the opinion there is no such thing as defensive medicine. The idea is preposterous. It’s only a naive public willing to buy this argument; along with politicians wanting campaign contributions. The political process has been corrupted by greed. To admit to defensive medicine means you admit to committing criminal fraud; and they aren’t willing to admit to criminal activity on a massive scale as they allege. No instead like the “frivolous lawsuit”, “defensive medicine” is a tag-line the ad execs came up with to create an illusion of a problem that if the public bites will increase profit margins. Think I’m crazy? You don’t have to believe me. Here read the quote in this post. “Apology Shield, Still not asking the right question.” See if it helps further to explain the real problem, assuming there is one.


    “The public is informed that lawyers, laws and law suits are the cause of physicians not being able to reform the error prone systems that exist in some places in America’s hospital systems. In fact the opposite is probably truer. Read the conclusion from the research group from the Departments of Medicine at the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, the Washington University School of Medicine, Waterman Research Solutions, BJC HealthCare, the The University of Toronto Department of Medicine and The University of Toronto.

    “In conclusion, the medical profession should consider whether the culture of medicine itself represents a more important barrier than the malpractice environment to the disclosure of harmful medical errors to patients. Patients justifiably expect that harmful medical errors will be disclosed to them. Increasing physician engagement in efforts to communicate openly with patients following errors and to enhance patient safety could provide a much-needed boost to patients’ confidence in the quality and integrity of the health care system.”

    The medical profession itself points out the greatest hindrance to a better system is within its control. Change the culture and you’ll change the number of injured patients.”

    It’s not all doctors that are jumping on the defensive medicine (the sky is falling) band wagon. No sirree. It’s a few that practice bad medicine and want no responsibility for their mistakes and to increase profits. We can’t blame them all for the few bad apples. Instead we need to change the culture that allows bad medicine to go uninvestigated. Change that and you’ll change medicine for the better.

  2. Mike Bryant says:
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    Jurors protect them way beyond any system. People like their doctors, and that’s even with a full understanding of all the wrongs out there. But, you are right, the blanket protection of the bad as well as the good, makes no sense in a society like ours. But, the Insurance companies have done a great job of pitting them against us. To bad, for such a smart bunch, that they have bought into it.