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Obama Is No Savior of Doctors

Ask scientifically-oriented young people today what is the greatest consideration in their choosing or not choosing to pursue the medical profession. Their answer is less likely to be the long work hours or the long years of preparation, than the threat of malpractice suits, and the resulting costs of malpractice insurance that will erode their incomes.

Yet President Obama refuses to limit malpractice suits that drive doctors out of practice at just the time he wants to provide more health care for Americans. Kill the goose that lays the golden egg!

Doctors are occasionally guilty of malice or gross negligence. In such cases they ought to be sued. Doctors also make honest mistakes, like others. In such cases, they shouldn't be sued, even though their mistakes are more likely to be costly. (That's just the nature of their work. Any time you deal with "critical care," a mistake is likely to be "critical.")

If medicine is regulated, as it mostly is, so should medical malpractice suits. Standards should be established as to what constitute malpractice. Only doctors whose work falls outside those standards should be sued. And the task of initiating such suits should be taken from the plaintiff's bar and placed in the hands of medical regulators.

Doctors at least produce something useful (healthcare). Lawyers produce something noxious (lawsuits). The value to society cannot be compared. Allow malpractice suits only as part and parcel of medical regulation, and not otherwise.