The neurosurgeon walked into the courtroom to defend his malpractice case. A patient suffering from a poor result was suing him.
The doctor’s palms were sweaty, his heart was racing, his head was pounding. He looked up to see the jury of “his peers”.
But wait! A jury of his peers would mean other doctors, nurses, health care providers, hospital personnel. No one fitting that description would be in the jury box this day. Instead, blue collar workers will be deciding his fate. They will see a surgeon and they will see a day laborer with chronic back pain.
The jury will not understand the technical details of the surgery, nor the possible risks. They will not understand that very poor results can come about without deviation from normal procedure. After all, we are not robots but individuals that react and heal in our own special way. What they will see is someone who cannot work at his chosen field any longer. Let’s give him an award!
Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the jury to be made up of neurosurgeons who would truly know if the surgery was appropriate and was done well?
And wouldn’t it make more sense if there is to be compensation, for the award to be a training program?
Teach him a new vocation- one that he can do with his new limitations. He can’t lift heavy objects any more? Fine…teach him keypunch operating. Give him the new skills that he can use and feel the pride of employability without “having won the legal lottery”.
This is why the tort system must be overhauled along with the health care reform. Until this is done, the idea of reducing health care costs will be a pipe dream!