Doctors would do better with a Kerry-Edwards victory in November

LETTER — Posted Aug. 23, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Not surprisingly, Sen. John Edwards is named as an archetype of the malpractice problem (Article, Aug. 2). What doctors may not want to hear, though, is that his cases were usually legitimate ones.

Sometimes big awards are needed to make up for the nation's inadequate private insurance coverage. Doctors should not necessarily have to pay for this public good, but don't blame Edwards for systemic flaws.

Doctors, lawyers and insurers deserve equal examination and criticism. The medical community needs to face all errors made, negligent or not. Lawyers need to be held accountable for the cases they choose to bring. Insurers need to be evaluated in terms of the profits they reap, the premium cycles they create, and the poor investments they make.

Lastly, patients need to recognize that medicine is as much art as science. It is not perfect, and not all bad outcomes are due to negligence or incompetence. Not all misadventures can or should be rectified with money derived from a lawsuit.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign has a number of proposals that may actually lower costs to doctors and make medical care better and safer. One idea is a three-strikes-you're-out rule for lawyers who bring frivolous suits. They also want precertification for cases. Doctors would be better with Kerry-Edwards in the White House for everything from Medicare reimbursement, managed care oversight, to malpractice reform than with the Bush team.

Evan Fieldston, MD, Philadelphia

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/08/23/edlt0823.htm.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn