On January 5th 2004, President George Bush accused the American Legal Community of abusing the legal system by filing “baseless claims against doctors and hospitals” because the “American legal justice system is slanted against them”.
The President is a liar.
This is not a statement I make easily, nevertheless, it is true.
Fact: Any lawyer taking on a medical malpractice lawsuit is willing to invest literally tens of thousands of dollars of his own money and more in time to obtain fair and just compensation for his severely injured client. He also wants to punish the hospital or doctor for failing to give proper care. This will teach these professionals to be more careful.
Fact: Virtually every medical malpractice case is legitimate and brought on behalf of clients who have sustains serious injuries. These victims are friends, neighbors, parents and siblings. They went to a doctor expecting that doctor to show reasonable care. They counted on the hospital to exhibit a reasonable degree of medical competence. They did not seek perfection; they were entitled to be treated professionally, without negligence.
Fact: Juries that grant verdicts are comprised of fellow neighbors who have heard the evidence, and found against the doctors and hospitals involved; same as in any other trial. Competent Judges oversee these verdicts. Groups of appellate Judges in turn, check them. Any of these courts can overturn or reduce unreasonable verdicts. If the verdicts are not correct, surely someone will almost always catch it.
Fact: Medical defendants are always represented by the best lawyers money can buy. Unlike a criminal defendant, medical defendants have the funding to get the best experts too. When a case is settled, it is because these outstanding trial lawyers know they cannot win. If they lose the case at trial, then their clients were negligent. They used improper care. They hurt others. They could kill someone with their ineptitude the next time. People who have been injured or killed by a medical practitioner’s malpractice are not entitled, nor will they obtain, justice in the criminal justice system. The only way to control wrongdoing by medical practioners is to bring a tort lawsuit.
Fact: If the Government puts artificial caps on recoveries in lawsuits, then hospitals, doctors and insurance companies (who are in fact the “big winners” here) will factor litigation losses into their price and ignore safety. It happens in every industry, medicine is no exception.
Fact: Medical malpractice damage caps are dangerous and foolish. They will lead to bad medicine, more injury and needless death.
Fact: Fear of a successful lawsuit is what forces hospitals and doctors to not cut corners, to do thorough jobs, and to keep us healthy and safe, even in the face of healthcare insurance executives who would deny that care in order to increase their profits.
Fact: The enemy of good health in America is not the trial lawyer, the enemy of good healthcare is greedy insurance executives and bad politicians who would rather use rhetoric than fact when confronted by truth.
Fact: This administration has sadly made a habit out of wrapping its arms around victims for a good publicity photo only to stab them in the back and turn the knife after the photo opportunity is over. American Trial Lawyers speak on behalf of individuals for the good of all citizens. They risk their own money on behalf of injured patients and have no funds with which to fight back.
I am a registered Conservative and I believe strongly in my Government. I am also not a medical malpractice trial attorney. I have no ax to grind. I write only because I am outraged that my President is running around America attempting to get support for a medical malpractice damages cap by spreading false information. Americans should not be fooled. I have not had to say these words about a Republican President since 1974 and it pains me to say them again: Our President is a liar.
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