You may not have noticed the modest piece, “Once Sued, Many Are Twice Shy,” in yesterday’s New York Times science section (it was on the page behind an article on lobotomy, starring the one applied to the head of Eva Peron).
The “Doctor and Patient” column, written by Pauline W. Chen, M.D., is both a dispassionate and passionate description of what Chen went through when:
“Within months of completing my training, I received the call that every doctor dreads.
“You’ve been named in a malpractice lawsuit,” the hospital administrator said.
It’s the only piece I’ve seen about medical malpractice lawsuits, numbers of which are specious (although Dr. Chen does not mention this directly), from the doctor’s point of view, and it is important.
Tacitly, it points up is how dishonest, ignorant and incompetent our political-cum-corporate-cum-justice system is when it beats the anti-elitist drums against doctors. Especially when its focus has now shifted to the other professional elite connected to medical malpractice lawsuits: lawyers. (That’s what “tort reform” is all about. Now that the right wing has successfully reduced physicians to factory-type “providers” and has reduced— oh, wait, they call it “controlled”— their income appropriately to match their enforced worker-status, it has to go after lawyers who, it is perceived, vote Democratic.)
The case against Dr. Chen was dropped. She doesn’t tell us what I’m sure is true: her malpractice insurance premiums went up anyway.
Dr. Chen is a lot kinder to the system that I am.