Are you a firm believer in medical care? Do you think medicine is the best bet at getting you healthy and keeping you that way? Do you think, for the most part, when done right, medical care is pretty darn badass—doctors can tell you what’s wrong with your body, and get you better fast? If you’ve answered yes unequivocally to any one of these questions, then you are likely a future plaintiff in a malpractice suit.
Oh yes, you heard me right—if you champion western medicine to the degree that you think it’s nearly infallible, you will probably one day consider a malpractice lawsuit against the doctor(s) or hospital that doesn’t live up to your fantasy. Don’t feel bad—you are definitely not alone. In fact, you belong to one of the largest groups in the country: The Disillusioned Medical Victim. (Read this article: 9 in 10 doctors blame lawsuit fears for overtesting)
You know who you are. You worship medicine. You think Dr. Oz is the smartest guy on T.V. (and quite the looker, too). You wouldn’t think of taking a lesser health care practitioner’s opinion on your serious health issues. Oh no, if it ain’t Harvard magna cum laude, you ain’t buying it. But if the doctor is a specialist, then, well…she may as well walk on water.
Except it’s all an illusion. Doctors are people like you and me (OK I’m a doctor; I mean like you and your sister). They have some extra knowledge and training, but guess what? They don’t know as much as you think they do. And they eff up like we all do. And when you have an experience in which your almighty doctor fails to miraculously fix you, guess what you are going to do? You are going to blame him/her/them.
It’s their fault, right? Yes, their fault you have cancer, are de-conditioned and ripe for disk herniation, or have complications with your routine surgery. They failed to find the problem, test well enough, or prescribe the proper treatment. Right?
Yes that’s how it happens. And it’s why medical malpractice is through the roof. It’s why doctors order an inordinate amount of tests, whether you really need them or not—to protect their arses! It’s why medical costs are astronomical (if you are still living by the illusion that medical costs are out of control because people don’t have federally funded health insurance, then there may be no hope for you…ever) and will continue to grow until something changes.
Sure we could push for tort reform and hope that the problem goes away. OR…how about you just a) take better care of yourself, b) stop living by the illusion that medical care is for anything other than crisis care, and that you are at risk every time you use it (doesn’t mean don’t use it—just know the risks), and c) YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH! Nobody’s to blame but you if you put all your eggs into one health basket. So don’t go crying to your malpractice attorney when the doctors don’t live up to your illusion.