Jewish World Review July 2, 2004 / 13 Tamuz 5764

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Consumer Reports


Physicians not treating trial lawyers: A shootout at OK Coral and Courthouse?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Is it time for a showdown and shoot-out at the OK Coral and Courthouse between doctors and the lawyers? Will the last sick lawyers die by year's end because of acute deprivation of medical treatment? Unfortunately not.


There has been some concern of late by some uninformed "opeders" that trial lawyers who sue doctors won't receive medical care for themselves and their families.


Is this a premature evisceration of all doctors.? Yes! Unlike most trial lawyers — revenge is just not in most doc's nature. Perhaps this is why the medical profession has allowed the lawyers and their 300 billion dollar a year litigation industry to run rough shod through the healthcare system for 30 years.


We are not talking here of all 800,000 lawyers but the lowest sediment of 70,000 trial lawyers who are the outlaw bandits.


These are the ones that destroy your healthcare, patient-doctor relationship, savings, life and legal system by filing frivolous lawsuits. Granted some suits are legitimate but in those ten percent of cases these prairie gamblers keep most of the winnings for themselves.


In fact the history of the trial lawyers in this country — worst example, Calif. — is to lobby and pass state and federal bills that allow more lawyers to file more lawsuits for more people or entities against more people or entities for more reasons for more money and for longer periods of time!


But before you laugh or throw away any remaining sympathy or concern for your family physician or internist you should remind yourself that, "It's not just sue the docs anymore," as we have written previously. Honing their sharp-shooting skills, the trial lawyers have applied their shakedown techniques to virtually every profession, vocation, job, business or industry big and small, and Ma and Pa shops ad infinitum. Everyone of you pays a $1200-$1800 law suit tax yearly for yourself plus each family member.


Is this medical threat of non-treatment a first shot across the bow by many angered doctors and providers whose lives, careers, families and reputations have been ruined by frivolous lawsuits. You bet!


In a rush to stamp out an oped piece, publicity seeking consumer advocate (pushing a new paperback), Jamie Court, strongly criticized doctors and the AMA for considering withholding of medical care from these salt water crocodiles. Never having had to treat a patient, and telling tired worn-out stereotypical doctor jokes along the way, Court draws all the wrong conclusions.



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First, the AMA has 292,000 members out of 853,000 eligable physicians in the nation. Second, there was no chance this "symbolic" resolution of ONE doctor would pass. Third, it would have allowed for emergency treatment which nowadays includes virtually any ailment. Even if a few physicians took this tactic there would be 800,00 or more left to treat the varmits.


Court says it would be discriminatory not to treat medical malpractice lawyers. There is no mention or complaint that trial lawyers are allowed to pick and choose their cases and clients — and selectively turn down others.


Even the slanted LA Times allowed a rebuttal letter on June 16 to their Court Commentary on June 13: "On the same day The Times ran the anti-doctor commentary by Jamie Court, the anti-lawyer resolution was soundly booed down by almost all the physicians at the American Medical Assn. meeting, even after it was withdrawn."


The AMA did the right thing. We applaud them for their ethics this time. We are impressed that they at least considered firing a warning salvo. It's about time after decades of doing too little too late. Now, do the trial lawyers deserve this grace? Personally we think not. Their outrageous and reprehensible behavior has pushed the limits of decency against the rest of us and they deserve their position of national disgrace, disgust and dishonor. They arrived at their place of infamy the old fashioned way — they earned it!


And the reason they will push further is that they know the other professions won't hit back. The litigation boys and girls in the custom imported blue suits are the block bullies.


As noted by Jay Ambrose, director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers in a comment on June 13, "The lawyers who abuse the system appear unlikely to be stricken by conscience soon, and so the concerned doctors should work hard for reform."


And that is why the rest of you should write your state and national representatives and senators to demand the end of this hit and run money mentality in our legal system.

Editor's Note: Michael Arnold Glueck wrote this week's column.




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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