Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Lawyers Will Get Every Heart Test Known to Man

... because if you don't predict the unpredictable, they sue:
A doctor failed to see that former Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes had heart disease, and this professional negligence led to Dentes' fatal heart attack in October 2006, his widow is alleging in a medical malpractice suit starting in county court this week.

Dr. Jonathan Mauser of Cayuga Cardiology Associates P.C. improperly interpreted Dentes' April 2005 stress echocardiogram, failed to suspect that Dentes had coronary artery disease and failed to recommend or perform a cardiac catheterization to confirm it, Elsie Dentes claims in the suit. Mauser and Cayuga Cardiology Associates are named as defendants.
Remember, the doctor did not give this patient heart disease, God did.

While I do not know the circumstances surrounding the case in question, it is clear that our society increasingly accepts that all diseases are preventable, life is limitless, and all tests we perform perfect. Of course, none of these are true. Yet when something doesn't follow the Western psyche's playbook, someone has to pay. All too often, that someone is the doctor.

This, my friends, is why doctors will continue to order every test known to man... as this case exemplifies, there is simply no incentive to do otherwise.

-Wes

8 comments:

Jackie said...

Question, isn't it more likely that poor diet, lack of exceise and bad lifestyle choices contributed to the Coronary Artery Disease than a test that probably didn't show anything anyways... I've said it before and i'll say it again... I don't understand Americans...

xx
Jaxs

SharonRN said...

Disputes are part of any business. In my opinion there has never been legal balance in American medical malpractice. I have been in it for 30 + years all defense until recently for plaintiffs. Seen all sides. Patients are not held contributorily negligent for being overweight, failing to control their blood pressures, adhere to diabetic diets, take prescribed medications, etc. The only legally recognized co-factor is agregious non-compliance. And, anyone is allowed to sue, including the wayward child who never visited their elderly parent; a person who has a grave illness not caused by med mal with less then 5 years to live; families seeking relief from bills they can not pay for a brain damaged child without direct cause, etc. Doctors and hospital staff will always make errors. They are human. They mostly work in chaotic environments, under archaic management systems, and perform highly sophisticated technical jobs. Medically negligent acts directly causing patient injury need to be fairly compensated. As in any business, such disputes will need attorneys to negotiate for both sides. However, co-factors of simple greed, personal health neglect, family neglect, families with no financial recourse; and parameters of life expectancy, quality of life need to be part of the balance and brought into fair legal play. Limits as to who can seek a legal action, and alternative dispute resolution avenues for all others need to be defined. You would be astounded as to how many calls I take from patients who do not know how to get their minor medical disputes resolved and think a lawsuit is the only alternative.
A side note, my personal beef: medical insurance companies place leins on any patient med mal award these days, but place no penalties on patients for personal health neglect. Such folks who can pay, pay the same health insurance premium as I do with a normal BMI and no health problems. No fair play in America on anyone's field doc.

Anonymous said...

I was going to say the same thing: God? More likely the patient gave himself heart disease.

Anonymous said...

"While I do not know the circumstances surrounding the case in question,"

Don't you think you should have stopped right there before drawing any grand conclusions? After all, we know at least one physician, who will testify for the plaintiff, thinks there was a problem with the treatment. And unlike you, they've almost certainly seen the medical records.

God did not "give" this patient heart disease, but even if He had, would it excuse negligent treatment? Moreover, is the "God would have taken him from us anyway" defense really a benefit to your profession?

"as this case exemplifies, there is simply no incentive to do otherwise."

You no literally nothing about this case. How do you reach these conclusions?

DrWes said...

Anony-

In the court of public opinion, since this doctor's case was PUBLISHED widely in the mainstream media for all to see, he has lost. The basic tenant of "guilty until proven innocent" was abandoned once a case hits court and becomes public record.

Doctors cannot defend themselves against this type of public disclosure of the suit being brought forth since "anything they say can be used against them in court."

Anonymous said...

"The basic tenant of "guilty until proven innocent" was abandoned once a case hits court and becomes public record."

That's not even an tenet of civil law. But I think if you believe that the conclusion you should be drawing is the public jumps to too many conclusions from newspaper articles, as you did yourself. That's not the fault of anyone involved in the case.

"Doctors cannot defend themselves against this type of public disclosure of the suit being brought forth since "anything they say can be used against them in court.""

Sure they can. Their attorneys will file an answer denying it all. They'll file motions explaining why the case has no merit, and they'll try the case. All of which are public record.

Again, though, I don't know how you reach these grandiose conclusions based on so little info.

DrWes said...

Anony-

Perhaps you could enlighten me as to which "grandiose conclusions" you feel I've reached.

Anonymous said...

These:

"it is clear that our society increasingly accepts that all diseases are preventable, life is limitless, and all tests we perform perfect."

"as this case exemplifies, there is simply no incentive to do otherwise."

How you got those conclusions from a lawsuit you know next to nothing about I don't know.