Doctors have long been referred as champions and heroes within the healthcare field. It can certainly be argued that the men and women who struggle through years of schooling and residencies to eventually become full-fledged medical doctors are indeed among the brightest and most committed and determined of working professionals.
Here is a central irony associated with the practice of medicine in New York, as noted in a recent media article addressing that subject.
American businesses provide the financial backbone upon which the U.S. economy relies, thrives and survives. For many business owners, a business' success is preceded by years of hard work and sacrifice. It's difficult, therefore, to imagine having everything stripped away because of a frivolous or invalid lawsuit.
For a physician, learning that you are the subject of a medical malpractice claim can be devastating. When accused of medical negligence, it's normal to feel singled out. However, according to the American Medical Association, "more than 42 percent of physicians have been sued." Lawsuits are particularly common among certain practices including obstetricians and gynecologists with roughly one out of every two doctors reporting being sued at least once before turning age 40.
Doctors are among the most revered of all professionals, and with good reason. The men and women who choose to become physicians spend years learning and training how to help, treat and effectively heal people who are ailing or in emergency medical situations. In some cases, despite a doctor's best efforts, a patient may suffer harm, injury or death.
New York Gov. Mario Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law last summer, and the state became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana. The law and the associated regulations provide strict guidelines for prescribing and dispensing the drug. For example, a physician must complete a training course before the state will authorize him or her to prescribe the drug.
We're back to the subject of transvaginal mesh litigation involving thousands of plaintiffs and some very large medical device manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson. When we left off in January, we had talked broadly about the product liability claims, and we had discussed how contingent fee agreements between plaintiffs' attorneys and their clients work.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh have terrible stories. These women went into surgery believing their doctors had a solution for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. After the surgery, though, they developed even more serious health issues: constant pain, permanent damage to bladders and other organs, additional surgeries and all the medical bills that go with continuing treatment.
Diabetes is a growing concern for millions of Americans, but so are medical malpractice claims for health care professionals, as many doctors may continue to miss the proper diagnosis for this disease. According to a recent study, it is estimated that as many as three in 10 cases go undiagnosed and missed by doctors. A missed diagnosis, especially for a major health issue such as diabetes, can lead to a costly medical malpractice claim.
Many New York doctors and other medical professionals go into the field of medicine in order to help people who are sick or injured. They often do everything they can to ensure that procedures are performed the way they are supposed to be. Unfortunately, some patients may feel that a doctor or other hospital staff member did not perform duties to the best of his or her abilities, and that staff member may need to defend against medical malpractice allegations.