A series of St. Louis Post-Dispatch stories are turning the tables on alarmists who claim there are too many “frivolous lawsuits” against health care facilities and physicians.
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President Todd A. Smith contacted the Post-Dispatch to refute a Northwestern University study which claimed that medical malpractice suits were causing newly trained doctors to leave the state of Illinois. The claim failed to take into account the fact that a high portion of doctors trained in Illinois are from out-of-state and plan to return home to begin their careers.
In a case dating back to 2003, a doctor operated on a five-year-old girl’s right eye instead of her left. According to the story in the Post, the doctor then attempted to cover-up his mistake by lying to the girl’s parents and tampering with medical charts. Despite being caught and paying a fine, the doctor has not been suspended from a day of work.
As reporter Jeremy Kohler writes, “Leniency and secrecy are the rule when it comes to policing Missouri’s 22,000 doctors, a Post-Dispatch investigation has found.”
As demonstrated in an article posted on Dec. 12 of last year, the list of what the Missouri medical board will publicly disseminate about a doctor on trial is much shorter than what the board refuses to reveal. Criminal records, investigations, history of training and education, hospital privilege restrictions and discipline from other states are off-limits, as is any information about physicians who are suspended, revoked or retired.
Considering these facts, one can imagine how difficult it is to get the real story on a doctor who may have caused harm to an innocent patient.
Considering the incredible expense and risk involved in following through with medical malpractice lawsuits, the Alton, Illinois-based attorneys at WWF&G should be commended for standing up for patients’ rights, especially in a time when such lawsuits are unpopular in the eyes of the public.
Thomas O. Falb and Michael P. Glisson offer free consultations for victims of medical malpractice, making sure to provide honest assessments of the situation for their clients. If it looks like a recovery on your medical expenses can be made, the WWF&G team will work tirelessly to provide the best results possible.