July 2005

"This crisis is costing lives and is depriving too many patients of access to quality medical care when they need it most. It is time to come together and enact a solution that will give patients all over the United States the peace of mind that comes with having doctors to deliver babies, specialists to deal with complicated procedures, and hospitals to remain open for their emergency needs . The answer is clear that we must reform the system immediately. The health of our citizens depends on it."

Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Roll Call, July 11, 2005

Silicosis Fraud Exposed

"In a stunning rebuke to plaintiff lawyers who had hoped to turn the age-old occupational illness silicosis into their next legal crusade, a Corpus Christi federal judge has blasted most of the 10,000 cases that landed in her court as a fraudulent enterprise brought only for the purpose of making money. 'On a number of different levels, the claims in this (litigation) defy all medical knowledge and logic,' U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack wrote in a 249-page opinion. 'These diagnoses were about litigation rather than health care,' she wrote . 'It is apparent that truth and justice had very little to do with these diagnoses - otherwise more effort would have been devoted to ensuring they were accurate. Instead ... these diagnoses were manufactured for money.'" Houston Chronicle, July 2, 2005 (Subscription Required)
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Lawsuit Fears Alter Care

"Emergency room doctors who are the most fearful of malpractice suits are more likely than their colleagues to order tests and admit patients for chest pain or other heart symptoms, according to a study led by a University of Iowa researcher. The study found that such doctors admit even those patients who are low risks for actual problems, said Dr. David Katz, an associate professor of internal medicine at Iowa. 'The fear of malpractice accounts for a significant portion of the variability in what doctors do in the emergency room,' Katz said." The Associated Press, July 14, 2005
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Warning to Patients

"The proliferation of personal injury lawyers who actively troll for patients through aggressive, slick and misleading advertising campaigns is shocking. It's also dangerous and potentially deadly, because it can scare patients off of their medication or away from helpful medical procedures. A recent survey showed that nine out of 10 patients would be concerned if they saw an advertisement for a lawsuit involving a medication they take. One in four said that they would immediately stop taking that medication . Lawyers spent $37.8 million in Texas on advertising in 2004. All one has to do is take a look at some of the ads to see many are solely designed to scare people -- scare them into the courthouse." Commentary by Dr. Evelyn Tobias Merrill, Dallas Business Journal, July 25, 2005
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USA Today published a letter to the editor written by Texas Sick of Lawsuits spokesperson Dr. Evelyn Tobias Merrill that responded to an editorial discussing solutions to healthcare lawsuit abuse. Dr. Merrill commended the paper for proposing innovative solutions to the crisis and said, "Health care lawsuits aren't a doctor vs. lawyer issue, but rather a much bigger problem that affects patient care and the course of health care in this country . We need to work now for a system that will compensate those who are truly injured while at the same time placing reasonable limits on costly and time-consuming litigation."
Read her full commentary.

Sick of Lawsuits hosted its third Web chat in its "On-Call" series with featured guests Dr. Evelyn Tobias Merrill and former FDA official Dr. Henry Miller. The two gave a "reality check-up" on our nation's lawsuit abuse climate.
Read the full transcript of the Web chat.


The Stats

3 in 4: Number of medical residents studying in Pennsylvania who plan to leave the state after training because of the state's high medical malpractice costs. Project of Medical Liability in Pennsylvania, July 7, 2005

72.4: Percentage of radiologists surveyed who said lawsuit fears moderately or greatly increased the number of recommendations they made for mammography or ultrasound. HealthDay News, June 28, 2005

10: Percentage of Americans who have lost their doctor to retirement or relocation because of the medical malpractice crisis. The Doctors Company, July 6, 2005

Take Action

Time is running out to tell the FTC to stop dangerous and irresponsible personal injury lawyer advertising!

Send a letter TODAY urging the Federal Trade Commission to pursue stricter guidelines on personal injury lawyer advertisements that use misleading, inflammatory and baseless claims to confuse and scare consumers.

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