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Thread: Is this true?

  1. #1
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    Edwards' Malpractice Suits Leaves Bitter Taste"

    The Washington Times - August 16, 2004
    By Charles Hurt

    The American Medical Association lists North
    Carolina's current health care situation as a "crisis" and blames it on medical-malpractice lawsuits such as the ones that made Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards a millionaire many times over.

    One of the most successful personal-injury lawyers in
    North Carolina history, Mr. Edwards won dozens of lawsuits against doctors and hospitals across the state that he now represents in the Senate. He won more than 50 cases with verdicts or settlements of $1 million or more, according to North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, and 31 of those were medical-malpractice suits.

    During his 20 years of suing doctors and hospitals, he pioneered the art of blaming psychiatrists for patients who commit suicide and blaming doctors for delivering babies with cerebral palsy, according to doctors, fellow lawyers and legal observers who followed Mr. Edwards' career in North Carolina.

    "The John Edwards we know crushed [obstetrics,
    gynecology] and neurosurgery in North Carolina," said Dr. Craig VanDerVeer, a Charlotte neurosurgeon. "As a result, thousands of patients lost their health care." ...

    One of his most noted victories was a $23 million
    settlement he got from a 1995 case -- his last before joining the Senate -- in which he sued the doctor, gynecological clinic, anesthesiologist and hospital involved in the birth of Bailey Griffin, who had
    cerebral palsy and other medical problems.

    Linking complications during childbirth to cerebral
    palsy became a specialty for Mr. Edwards. In the courtroom, he was known to dramatize the events at birth by speaking to jurors as if he were the unborn baby, begging for help, begging to be let out of the womb.

    "He was very good at it," said Dr. John Schmitt, an
    obstetrician and gynecologist who used to practice in Mr. Edwards' hometown of Raleigh. "But the science behind a lot of his arguments was flawed."

    In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the
    American
    College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a
    joint
    study that cast serious doubt on whether events at
    childbirth cause cerebral palsy. The "vast majority" of cerebral palsy cases originate long before childbirth, according to the study.

    "Now, he would have a much harder time proving a lot
    of his cases," said Dr. Schmitt, who now practices at the
    University of Virginia Health System. ...

    It is not clear just how much Mr. Edwards made as a
    lawyer, but estimates based on a review of his lawsuit settlements and Senate records place his fortune at about $38 million.

    Like many Democrats, Mr. Edwards has benefited from
    the generosity of fellow trial lawyers, who have given
    millions of dollars to Mr. Edwards' political campaigns and other political endeavors. ...

    As a result of these and other cases, insurance rates
    for doctors have skyrocketed -- putting some out of
    business and driving others away, especially from rural areas. And doctors who have lost cases to Mr. Edwards have been bankrupted.

    Patients, meanwhile, are left with rising health care costs and fewer -- if any -- doctors in their area. It is
    increasingly nationwide problem, physicians say.

    Dr. VanDerVeer, the Charlotte neurosurgeon, recalled
    one recent night on duty when two patients arrived in an
    emergency room in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the area's last neurosurgeons quit
    earlier this year.

    "No one in Myrtle Beach would accept responsibility
    for these patients," he said. And because it was raining, the helicopters were grounded, so the patients were loaded into ambulances and driven the four hours to Charlotte.

    Upon arrival, one patient had died, and the other
    learned that she merely had a minor concussion -- and a $6,000 bill for the ambulance ride.

    "That's just one little slice of life here," Dr.
    VanDerVeer said. "It's a direct result of the medical-malpractice situation that John Edwards fomented."

    Dr. Schmitt had spent 20 years delivering babies in
    Raleigh. Though he had no claims against him, his insurance tripled in one year. With no assurances that his rates would ever drop, or just stop rising, he left town. ...

    "We are currently being sued out of existence," Dr.
    VanDerVeer said. "People have to choose whether they want these lawyers to make gazillions of dollars in pain and suffering awards or whether they want health care."
    Those who dance, appear insane to those who do not hear the music.
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  2. #2
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    no, that is not true.

    the medical industry(including obstetrics and gynocology)are alive and well in NC.

    the triad and triangle are major medical centers,and buisness is fine.there are doctors all over the place.

    and trial lawyers in general and john edwards in particular can't be blamed for insurance rates being what they are.

    ambulance chasers have their SHARE of the blame.
    but a larger percentage would have to go to the insurance companies.they are the ones charging doctors those high rates.and their profits and assets are sizable enough that they can't be crying "poverty".they are also the one that fail to reimburse those doctors they say they care about,sometimes only paying 25%-50% of the bill due to the doctors. which is a leading cause of why doctors refuse to see patients. their insurance or HMO companies record of payment is so bad ,they can't stay in practice giving charity work to the community.

    so as for the trial lawyers, they are as greedy as a politician, but the whole medical industry is to blame.there is plenty to go around.

    don't forget the AMA itself that refuses to let repeat malpractice offenders be "publicized", so patients will know to stay away from the 5-10% of doctors that are responsible for most of the malpractice. by protecting these few, they subject the whole of the profession to bear the burden of "paying" off the malpractice claims.

    and the privatization of healthcare could be said to be the blame , or at least not working and causing these five times higher than inflation spikes every year.

    look at a company like HCA,

    this company is the largest medicare/medicaid provider in the country.
    and they are crooked,

    in 2000, they were fined 1.4 billion for medicare fraud.

    that means they stole an amount of money from the taxpayers visa vie the gov't,that prompted the gov't of the united states to impose a 1.4 billion dollar fine. that doesn't even say how much actual corruption there was.

    that company is owned by bill frist's father and brother.

    so put on a list john edwards and bill frist, and the many others in congress that have agendas to make money for their special intrest groups,and we, the citizens of this country pay whatever they say.

    what about the "medicare plan" that was put through congress.

    a provision that excludes the gov't from negotiating for a better price from the pharmaceutical industry. that is a deal made between people that will cost everybody money.
    and the worst part of it is that the republicans , willingly lied, covered up the real expected cost of the plan so it could get through.not to mention the largesse from the industry they ALL recieved.there were even bribes and threats being wielded around washington, to get that bill thru.

    all to keep what happened as a result of the supreme court decision concerning the maine medicaid system,vs. the pharma industry, from spreading to a federal level, where collectivisation of purchasing power would give the US gov't @ 52% of the market; with which they could have demanded lower drug prices.

    so all you democrats and republicans out there,

    do you give your voter regisration card for a discount when you need medical help?

    if not, maybe you/we are all getting screwed.

    so leave the partisan attack out of it.


    like john edwards could bring down the medical profession,that is an oversimplified ;unjustified partisan swipe,that holds only the tiniest drop of water.

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by remember



    "like john edwards could bring down the medical profession,that is an oversimplified ;unjustified partisan swipe,that holds only the tiniest drop of water." [/B]

    Let us all hope that if/when we might need a SKILLED lawyer
    we are able find one as sucessful as senator Edwards.
    I am speaking of the time when there is culpability and justice should be served.

    remember: Your post appears to be balanced and accurate as
    far as I understand the issue. You are right on the partisanship surrounding this issue as well.

    [Edited by fastfred on 10-04-2004 at 04:02 PM]

  4. #4
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    Remember, once again you post so-called facts without checking the sources.

    don't forget the AMA itself that refuses to let repeat malpractice offenders be "publicized", so patients will know to stay away from the 5-10% of doctors that are responsible for most of the malpractice. by protecting these few, they subject the whole of the profession to bear the burden of "paying" off the malpractice claims.

    The N.Y.S. Dept of State has information on any doctor that is licensed to pratice in this state, including malpratice suits filled, pending and settled.
    Check and see what a OB/GYN has to pay for malpractice insurance, most are paying over $100,000 a yr for coverage even if they have no prior suits filled against them.
    So yea, Edwards is in the loop, that's not partision, that's fact.

    and the privatization of healthcare could be said to be the blame , or at least not working and causing these five times higher than inflation spikes every year.

    You could say that, but it's not true, wages and services are the highest cost in the industry, R&D being a close second.
    Remember that it's the law that anybody has to be seen in an emergency room and stabilized, regardless of ability to pay. This is payed by the federal govt.

    Also, cost of supplies are astronomical, a bulb for a cat-scan machine runs in the thousands.
    Seeing that regulations dictate what can be used the market is open to price gouging.

    And during the 90's(Clinton)alot of hospitals were very close to insolvency, and most was due to reduced reimbursments for services rendered, which also has to pay wages. Most hospitals were able to survive by cutting back to the point of endangering lives, hence accidents happen, hence suits are filled, hence costs goes up.
    So again, yes Edwards is part of the equation.


  5. #5
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    bobby, I dont disagree,

    he, like his whole profession, are A PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    one problem blaming trial lawyers , is that they are tied to people that deserve to be reimbursed.like fast fred said, just hope you find someone with a silver tongue , after you get your leg amputated instead of a toncilectemy.

    when a doctor or hospital are negligent, they should be held accountable.

    so there are many possibilities as far as mitigating the costs incurred from the people recieving damages.

    from the doctors and hospitals doing more than they are now to "keep things safe"

    there have been systems that experimented with hyper-clean hospitals that cut infection rates down by 50%.

    some places are starting to try and change "medical" cultural habits.getting them to act in concert more like they forced the air traffic controllers to,to reduce mistakes.in a systematic, practical way.


    and there may be some records in some places, states rule vary. but one common practice in people settling medical negligence suits, is the secrecy clause. it is so common, that sure some places may have a lot of info, but are you sure they have what you need to know?

    and the costs of labor and supplies and equiptment, is thru the roof.

    so much so that I don't see how the price increases can go on,somethings got to give.

    surely, like it is today, it would be more so
    that level of care would depend on how much money you have;to afford "the good" insurance.

    I say the medical industry should be careful if it wants to stay in the freemarket.

    you talk about uninsured people, making the hospitals pick up the tab. well ,that is why universal healthcare would be a better way to go.

    the medical costs can go skyhigh, because in a market system, value depends upon willingness to accept obligation to pay. and the hospital is one place where money is no object,whether you have any or not.


    but , in this real world, economy of scale and use of eminent domain on intellectual property,as with the confiscation of patents for medicine and equiptment. the central gov't could:

    Build hospitals...using trade school labor,a way to improve the professions involved.

    train professionals, a friend of mine became a doctor in the air force. they train their own, she had to give back 6 years of service for her training. works for everybody.

    build factories to produce those drugs for pennies a piece.

    if the pharm industry wants to throw a tantrum, let the National institute of health expand their research staff. pay them whatever they would make working for the big firms.they will still be "helping people", and that is what they are after.and making a pretty penny doing it.

    build factories to produce the most used equiptment.and supplies.

    and at every turn, that money the gov't is spending would go directly into the economy, from the well paid factory worker, to the well paid doctors, and well paid researchers.

    and the society would prosper because nobody is spending their money on healthcare.

    which has become a major industry, with all kinds of tax-breaks and incentives for private people to spend the gov's money in every facet the same way, and then charge twice as much or ten times as much or fifty times as much,and get that money from the population at large.

    and if that is socialized medicine, so be it. we are one of the few industrialized countries that haven't yet done this. (maybe not to this extent)and we don't have better healthcare on the whole. we do have "specialists" at fine centers.but , we rank down on the list of infant mortality, and many other medical "bookmark" indicators.


    and what is worse, americans are spending more money having this piecemeal,patchy coverage,for some but not all,or almost half;than they would spend on an integrated system.america spends more on healthcare than countries with universal healthcare.

    and if a doctor wants to make two hundred thousand a year, he can do it for the gov't.
    let there be strict quality control and feedback,so as not to let the normal abuses of gov't be acceptable.

    and if you are good, if you pay for your own training or after you fullfill your obligations, you can still go into private practice for the big bucks.

    this whole system can be here, like public schools should be.

    life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.

    it could be done,but people like the frists and HCA need to be kept out of the system, so the governmental teat doesn't become abused. just used.

    the cost is where the real benefit comes in, medicine, is not productive to the society in the sense that ;when the cog gets repaired , it is now just as good as before, except it has required a maintainence cost. and the society letting our healthcare prices go up just increase the cost of our maintainence cost.without increasing any increase in the macro production that becomes something tangible.

    it is productive for those fixing the cogs. which cannot be taken out of the eqation,but the extra that is profit,is just a "cost of doing buisness"



    because the cost is so outrageous, its gotta stop somewhere.

    not that I ever go to doctors,


    I suppose gov't ineptness is the biggest obstacle to achieve equilibrium for a system this bold, but as long as were just talking ideas....

  6. #6
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    John Edwards cheery-picked cases. If your child died during delivery he would not talk to you. There is a cap on dead babies. But if your child was brain damaged and alive and he can parade it in front of a jury, then he is your man.

    Over 50% of the medical cases brought to court is fraud. The people that bring these cases to court and are successful cause YOU to pay higher cost for everything.

    All those brain storm "remember" ideas will not make the junior John Edwards go away. Just wake up every morning and there they are on the TV telling you to call them because you may be hurt and not even know it.

  7. #7
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    I personaly would like to see a cap on what the lawyers can charge as a percentage of the judgement...

    I think ALL of the medical industry shares in the HIGH cost of health care.

    The doctors charge high prices due in part to high insurance rates and high cost of education.

    The insurance companies charge high rates due in part to high priced law suits...

    Hospitals charge high rates due in part to the high number of people that cannot pay the costs of medicine and the hospital gets stuck with unpaid bills that the rest of us pay...

    Drug companies charge high prices for some of the drugs they produce due in part for the long years of research to develope a useable drug for a specific ailement..

    They ALL charge high prices because they want and seem to need high profits, the same as WE want...


    Those who dance, appear insane to those who do not hear the music.
    Those who believe, appear ignorant to those who do not know God.

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