The Changing Face of Medicine
The respectability of the medical profession is fast turning into a nightmare for the practitioners who once were the beacon of societal hope. The roles once taken by physicians in a family set up are now turning into debacles. The principal reason for the growing distrust between the doctors and their clients is the increase rates of legal battles and lawsuits that health facilities have to face currently. Today, more doctors are sued for malpractice charges if the patients’ families hold a different view to the outcome of treatment. The rise in the blame for doctors on negative treatment outcomes has derailed the desire people once had for the profession. As such, insurance companies have raised the Malpractice cover in the wake of the increased lawsuits targeted on the doctors and health facilities. The high rates associated with malpractice insurance cover to the tunes of about $200,000 increasingly make it difficult for individual physicians to enhance their careers in the profession either through private practice or public service. The trend mostly has driven some practitioners out of the profession opting to engage in businesses and trades that have least collateral risks. Another frequently cited discouraging factor is the long working hours. The limited life outside health facilities compounds the need for professional exit options as practitioners opt for self-fulfilling lifestyles without many legal risks and associated costs. Such opportunities are often available in sectors such as pharmaceuticals firms, research, and administrative roles.
There are a variety of existing legal cases where patients have sued their doctors for what is constitutionally termed as medical malpractice. Examples include the case in Indian where a patient sued the hospital for missed stroke diagnosis and was awarded $ 300,000 in damages. According to Jennifer Nelson’s article (2015), published by The Indian Lawyer website, John Green in his lawsuit accused the Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis for misdiagnosis of stroke for intestinal and heart attack. The second case involves the awarding of $6.8 million to a patient for the hospital allowing a heart surgery patient was going blind. According to an article in The National Trial Lawyers, The Baylor Heart Hospital remained charged with medical malpractice in the event of heart surgery complication. Finally, the case of Amy Lam who experienced a premature birth in her bathroom before bleeding to death in Harlem Hospital during surgery had her family sue the hospital for malpractice and negligence as reported by New York Times reporter Samantha (Schmidt, 2016). Such cases have increased in number making it impossible for some entrepreneurial medical practitioners to venture out on their own and start their own practice business. With the growing questioning of doctors competence in performing their roles as professionals, insurance firms have moved to cash in on such eventualities. The companies are charging exorbitantly on the medical malpractice covers for both the hospital facilities and practitioners. Doctors have therefore remained exposed to high-risk practice conditions leading to some opting for alternative job opportunities. The professional situation as witnessed by physicians and health facilities is discouraging, and it is upon the government to ‘step in and arrest the trend. Law courts are doing no favors to the health sector either as it most definitely approves vast sums of payouts in the forms of medical damages and compensation.
1. Nelson J.(2015). Court of Appeal affirms excess damages award in med-mal case (Green v. Wishard Hospital). Indiana Lawyer. (Retrieved on January 31, 2017 from http://www.theindianalawyer.com/coa-affirms-excess-damages-award-in-med-mal-case/PARAMS/article/40804)
2. Schmidt S.(2016). A Woman Dies After Childbirth, and Her Husband Asks Why. New York Times. (Retrieved on January 31, 2017 from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/29/nyregion/premature-birth-harlem-hospital-center.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMedical%20Malpractice&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0.)