Earlier this week, we began a discussion about doctors who receive payments (cash and otherwise) from pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. These for-profit companies are not buying lunch for physicians and paying them to speak on behalf of their products simply because they want to reward doctors for the important work they do. Instead, these companies understand that such tactics work. It takes money to make money, and pharmaceutical companies definitely make money.
Medicine is a science. And like all sciences, one of its most important aspects is objectivity. If a doctor prescribes a certain course of treatment or a certain medication, it should be because it has proven to be effective, it is reasonably safe and it will meet the patient's medical needs. In most cases, these are the only factors a doctor needs to consider.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the statutes of limitation in medical malpractice claims. Here in Oregon, patients have just two years after becoming aware of injury to file a lawsuit. However, no medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed more than five years past the date of injury.
One of the most frustrating roadblocks for would-be plaintiffs in many civil lawsuits is the statute of limitations. These are laws that put a time limit on how long a plaintiff is allowed to file a lawsuit after the harm that prompted the suit. There are also criminal statutes of limitation (after which a person cannot be prosecuted for a crime), but our conversation this week will focus solely on civil matters. Specifically, we'll be discussing statutes of limitation on medical malpractice claims.
Most forms of major surgery require the patient to be sedated, both for their own comfort and to make the operation easier for the surgical team. General anesthesia uses very powerful drugs, and administering anesthesia is a medical specialty in itself.
If you are a fan of any of the dozens of medical dramas on television, you have probably seen that surgeons are often portrayed as a distinct breed of physicians. Television tends to show surgeons as fiercely competitive, arrogant and focused on problem-solving rather than patient healing.
Tort reform has been legislated or at least heavily debated in every state, including here in Oregon. Proponents of tort reform (specifically related to medical malpractice) have argued that healthcare costs are out of control and doctors are practicing defensive medicine because of too many "frivolous" lawsuits.
Medicine is not a perfect science. Physicians have the difficult job of observing symptoms, talking to patients and using that information to correctly diagnose the problem. Because symptoms often overlap, it can be tough to make a correct diagnosis quickly and on the first try.