The short answer is often no. The longer version is they do work together
now and then to make an end justify the means.
While it might seem odd to hear that a doctor and a lawyer could work together
over issues like tort reform, it is happening more often on a larger scale.
This can only be good for the eventual demise of tort reform. Many doctors
see tort reform as necessary for a variety of reasons. They think it will
reduce their medical malpractice insurance premiums. It won’t. And
they think their liability should be limited. It should not.
Basically, the problem with tort reform, besides the fact that it is blatantly
unfair and unethical, is that doctors do not really understand what it
could mean to a patient that needs lifelong medical care. Their focus
is limited to trying to deny or diminish liability for any medical errors.
To be fair, some instances labeled medical malpractice are not, and not
all bad medical outcomes are the end result of medical negligence. That
is just the way it is.
The whole issue really gets right down to education. Educating medical
professionals about what tort reform really means equals refocusing them
from the desire to pay less in medical malpractice premiums to considering
how a catastrophic injury caused by medical negligence can seriously affect
the victim. Certainly there needs to be some willingness on the part of
the medical professionals to admit when a mistake is a mistake. That does
not happen too often.
Now there is a divided camp of sorts between the American Medical Association
(AMA), who insists tort reform is needed to reduce medical malpractice
premiums and open the door for more people to have access to medical care.
Frankly, it would seem the AMA is buying into the hype insurance companies
sell them – that the number of malpractice cases is the reason for
high premiums. Actually, it is the insurance industry wanting to make
more money that drives premiums up.
In the other camp is the American Association for Justice (AAJ), who states
simply that limits are unfair to the victims and do nothing to lower medical
malpractice premiums. In other words, the relatively few high verdict
medical malpractice cases has nothing to do with increasing insurance
rates, but the economy, greed, low interest rates, the recession and lack
of compassion do.
This argument has been around for years. It will continue. In the meantime,
if just one doctor at a time can be converted to see the real issue relating
to medical malpractice insurance and tort reform, then that may be considered
to be progress.