Friday, August 25, 2006

Need a Spaceship Right Now!

Apparently someone is now trying to peddle the idea that the average personal injury case verdict/settlement is going for $3 million dollars.

As Greedy Trial Lawyer asks, what planet is this? Me too. I need to hop a ride to that one (preferably not on a Vogon construction ship).

But a little more seriously, the article in question, by Steve Maggi, makes this claim trying to illustrate his point that evil plaintiff lawyers filed too many suits to keep open hospitals. In particular, he brings up the example of Putnam General Hospital in Putnam County, West Virginia.

Now, Putnam County apparently has around 55,000 people living there. Two neighboring counties, Charleston and Huntingdon counties, are roughly the same size. Apparently, Charleston has four hospitals and Huntingdom has two. Neither of these hospitals is at risk for closing. However Putnam County Hospital has to close and re-open as an urgen care facility. Could it be because, perhaps, it was negligent in who it allowed to perform surgeries?

Putnam General Hospital is closing. This is true, but part of the reason is that they hired a Dr. John King as an orthopedic surgeon. Problem is, Dr. King does not appear to be accredited as an orthopedic surgeon. According to some reports, he never finished a residency in orthopedic surgery. It would probably have been something for the hospital to check before they granted him privileges. Of course, they did not, and as Bob Carroll at Injury Board pointed out, paid him nearly $420,000.00 a year and allowed him to operate on people in need of an orthopedic surgeon.

So people were injured. Injured because the hospital failed to do what it should have done in the first place. And yet, it is the plaintiffs and their lawyers who are to blame because a hospital that could not protect its patients is closing?

Is it jackpot justice to be operated on by someone who does not know what they are doing, leaving you in pain and possibly worse? People need to look beyond the rabble-rousing expressions of tort-reformers and realize that what most plaintiff attorneys are actually doing is trying to get some measure of compensation for people who have been actually hurt by someone or some organization. Yes, they get compensated, but then again they only get compensated for work which they do. Just like any other profession.

If the idea on this planet is that those who are hurt should be blamed for getting hurt, then I definitely need to get on a spaceship now.

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