Vail Daily letter: Defensive medicine expensive
Vail, CO, Colorado
I read with great interest and disdain Keith Speroas article on tort reform.
Your claim that there is no need for tort reform in conjunction with reforming our system of health care is laughable. You may be correct when you assert that malpractice awards amount to less than 1 percent of the total cost of health care, but that is like saying the 1 percent of the the iceberg you can see above water is all we need to worry about.
The unbelievable waste in the health-care industry is the enormous number of needless tests a doctor must run to protect themselves in the event their choice of treatment is questioned by a lawyer. I have members of my family that are doctors who will tell you that as much as 25 percent of the tests they run are to protect themselves and eliminate diagnosis they know are not plausible in the given situation.
In the more specialized medical areas such as obstetrics, this percentage climbs over 40 percent. I didnat read these statistics in an article or report. I asked the doctors on the front lines.
I also had to chuckle when you refer to the amillionsa of dollars wasted on unnecessary medical tests. Mr. Spero, this number is in the tens of billions.
An individual who is the victim of malpractice is without question due his-her day in court and compensation if the court determines it appropriate. However this does not mean $20 million for a bad-looking scar.
Limits on jury awards is the right thing to do in our society. We should stop treating our legal system like the Power Ball. To pass any type of health-care reform without tort reform would truly idiotic.