Latest Symptoms of a Broken System

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Lawsuit Abuse Threatens Quality HealthCare

Lawsuits targeting our healthcare system adversely affect everyone by limiting access and affordability to crucial services and prescriptions. Healthcare costs continue to increase dramatically - in direct proportion to the rise in unsubstantiated and frivolous lawsuits.

Deferred, not Preferred, Delivery - An Arizona mother delivered her child en route to a hospital 35 miles away when her local hospital was forced to close their maternity ward because their insurance rates were projected to quadruple. - Chicago Tribune, "Soaring Cost of Insurance Puts Doctors on the Ropes," April 7, 2002.

Scare Tactics Limit Healthcare Choices - Recently, two Texas doctors posted the following notice: "(Due to) recent advertisements by attorneys recruiting lawsuits for patients taking Vioxx or Celebrex, we will no longer be refilling prescriptions or writing new ones for those products. We regret that the threat of litigation has eliminated two medicines from our practice which have given many of you significant relief from your arthritic pain, but with the current legal climate which exists, we have no other choice." Athens Daily Review, "Lawsuits Have Docs Just Saying No to Drugs August 22, 2001.

Critically Ill or Injured Left Without Recourse - Lawyers who represent critically ill plaintiffs fear that healthy non-impaired plaintiffs seeking claims will drive so many defendants bankrupt that the genuinely sick and dying will have no recourse. In a recent Mississippi case, a jury returned a verdict of $150 million in compensatory damages in an asbestos claim against three defendant corporations, even though none of the plaintiffs claimed to have sustained any medical expenses or to have ever lost a day of work due to asbestos exposure; they were healthy. Four defense doctors testified that none of the plaintiffs suffered from any asbestos-related condition whatsoever, but the plaintiffs' doctor, a Jackson pulmonologist, disagreed. Time, "The $20 Billion Miscarriage of Justice" March 4, 2002.

Reversals of Fortune - Even though she admittedly had never been harmed by the heartburn drug Propulsid, Hazel Norton of Rolling Fork, Mississippi joined a mass action against its makers because she "thought she might get a couple of thousand dollars." When her doctor subsequently left the state in response to excessive litigation, Norton commented, "I'm kind of upset. I do not want him leaving because of all the suits. If we run off all the doctors, what are the people gonna do?" Clarion Ledger, "Tort Reform: Just What the Doctors Ordered?" July 29, 2002.

Lawsuit Abuse Makes Us Sick
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