On April 14, 2009, a former insurance adjuster wrote that the cost of medical malpractice insurance is too high because of lawsuits brought by plaintiff attorney s many of which are with little or no merit. Lawyers know it's cheaper to settle than to defend a lawsuit.
I've been a medical doctor for the last 31 years, and also a medical malpractice lawyer for 9 of those years. Successful medical malpractice cases are usually handled by specialized malpractice lawyers. They usually turn down over 90 percent of the cases they get because the average case costs them $50,000 that they only recover if it settles or they win at trial. A case of clear medical malpractice in Minnesota may succeed, but a frivolous case will never succeed. (The public has a strong bias for the doctor and against the plaintiff, making almost every case an uphill battle.)
Without malpractice damages caps, Minnesota has some of the country s lowest medical malpractice premiums. California enacted MICRA (their damages cap law) in 1975, but it didn't lower malpractice premiums. In 1988, Proposition 103 required insurers to lower rates 20 percent and get prior approval from the state before raising rates. The California malpractice insurers lowered their premiums, stayed in business, and they have deceptively pushed for nationwide damage caps ever since.
If a doctor orders an unnecessary test, it won t prevent a malpractice claim because it won t find anything useful. If it finds something useful, it wasn't unnecessary. Medical malpractice is 0.5 percent of the cost of medical care, which is 1/10th of what the previous administration gave to the drug companies when it made our drugs twice as expensive as in Canada. Let's quit the misinformation battle and solve the problem.
David B. Ketroser, M.D., J.D.
No more Death Marches
We've recently honored the men and memories of U.S. and Filipino soldiers who were subjected to the Bataan Death March on April 10-13, 1942, at the start of World War II. The military units containing the Brainerd National Guardsmen were sent into the Philippines, which is in the same area as Japan, in September 1941. The Japanese didn't attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii until later, Dec. 7, 1941. Hawaii wasn't a U.S. state then - statehood happened in 1959. (Hawaii was an independent nation until the U.S. took it over by force.)
Many things have been written about the Death March: the horrors of this 100 mile march are beyond comprehension of those of us who haven't experienced it.
Yet imagine if you can the pain and horror if these brave soldiers also had their children, wives, and parents with them on the march.
Our beloved U.S. was on the giving end of quite a few Death Marches, before experiencing the receiving end of one in the Philippines.
Famously is the Cherokee Trail of Tears, a Death March instituted by President Andrew Jackson and our U.S. government in winter, 1838, to get the Indian people out of the way in Georgia. Entire families were Death Marched, most without shoes or moccasins, to the Oklahoma Territory, about 1,000 miles. Four thousand died.
The Navajos were similarly Death Marched, as were Apache Bands in the Southwest (some twice). The Ojibwe had a similar experience at Sandy Lake, near McGregor.
The descriptions of all these marches are as horrible as Bataan was.
It is way past time for all of us to calm the warmongers among us, and begin a quieter and more respectful attitude toward each other. We don't ever need another Death March, by anyone.
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