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Why do we sue doctors and hospitals? It’s not because we’re picking on doctors and hospitals. There’s a whole lot of discussion about tort reform, about limiting medical malpractice cases because it’s driving up the cost of medical care. And I’m here to tell you that that’s not accurate, I’m here to tell you that’s not true.
Why do we do what we do? It’s a pretty simple equation. A patient goes in to a physician expecting that physician to heal the patient, or treat the patient, or make the patient better.
If the physician makes the patient worse. If the physician disables the patient. If the physician kills the patient as a result of malpractice, the real question is who’s to bear that loss.
Let’s suppose a wage earner goes in for a surgery, a mistake is made and the person bleeds to death on the operating table. Well, let’s assume that that wage earner had a family of three kids and a wife, all dependent upon his income. What happens to that family? How do they get made whole? They’re never going to be given their loved one back. What’s gonna to happen to the income? What if mom doesn’t work? What if mom can’t work? Where does the family get the economics they need to be back to where they were before dad died? And fortunately and unfortunately the only place really to get any relief is in a medical malpractice case.
Doctors in Pennsylvania are required to have medical malpractice insurance. A minimum of 1 million dollars of coverage. Hospitals have much higher coverage, some of them have 10, 20 million dollars of coverage. Why do they have that coverage? It’s mandated by law. There’s an understanding in the state of Pennsylvania that when doctors make mistakes that patients have a right, a bill of rights to go and file suit against a doctor, just like Esther said, if there’s a meritorious claim, and then to get compensation, not necessarily from the doctor but from that insurance company that insures the doctor.
So when we file medical malpractice cases even though we are suing the doctor, it’s the insurance company behind the doctor that’s going to step up, and if the jury agrees with us or the insurance carrier agrees with us, that’s where the family’s compensation comes from.
The only thing we can give them is money. The only thing that we can do to replace their loss is money. But at least they have that. And that’s why Esther and I litigate against doctors.