It’s now well established that tort “reformers” and hypocrisy go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just think back to one of my favorite examples: alleged newsman and tort “reform” champion, John Stossel, who railed against frivolous lawsuits, but had no problem bringing one of his own. It was during one of his hard-hitting, investigative pieces about professional wrestling. Poor John wanted to reveal the terrible secret about the sport–that it is fixed–even though the only person alive who was unaware of that seems to have been John. Nonetheless, he goaded one of the pros into bitch-slapping him (Stossel) upside the head during an interview , and promptly sued for “damages.”
But the hypocrisy takes on a deeper resonance when it comes from a physician tort “reformer” who specifically condemns “frivolous” medical malpractice suits, after having been a defendant in a meritorious action or two. And here I’m talking about the GOP’s own Rep. Phil Gingrey, of California. Injury Board shares the details in this recent post. Yes, Dr. Gingrey and his colleagues treated an OB patient less than optimally, to put it charitably, and were responsible for allowing her fetus to die, and the patient to suffer a debilitating stroke. So naturally, he would sponsor a bill that would arbitrarily cap damages, restrict legal fees for lawyers handling medical malpractice cases, and bar the ability to obtain punitive damages against negligent drug and device makers when the product has been FDA-approved.
Those darned, frivolous medical malpractice suits can be such a bother–especially when your failures as a physician are what instigates them. Thanks, Phil, and keep up the good work!
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