Friday, June 09, 2006

Can we throw the bum (docs) out?

…As HA may have mentioned, her father was a physician. But she maintains a "healthy" skepticism about some aspects of the medical system.

…The docs are scarcer, more overworked, and (seemingly) somewhat less professional than in days of yore.

…The pols whine about big malpractice awards, but if one of these folks maims or kills a loved one, you may need the money to get by for the rest of your life.

…According to Public Citizen, a do-gooder nonprofit, 5.5% of the docs accounted for 57.5% of the malpractice payouts between 1990 and 2004. Each doctor who ended up paying was a repeater—having two or sometimes dozens of payouts.

…Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, remarked in a letter to the AARP Bulletin that stricter discipline of doctors did not reduce malpractice premiums, but that throwing the worst offenders out might improve safety.

…In AZ, HA can check her docs for complaints, suits and wrist slaps over the past five years. But what if they came from other states? No way to know.

…Incidentally, when HA once checked on a doc she had been referred to and told her primary that this guy have once operated on the wrong leg of a woman, her primary seemed surprised that there was a way to check.


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