One Army sergeant who was wounded while serving in Iraq is using what are likely his final months of life to fight for the right of active duty service members to sue the government for medical malpractice. They are currently prohibited from suing for malpractice or negligence of any kind because of the Feres Doctrine. It's named for a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1950.
Most of us don't have medical training, so we rely on our doctors to give us clear, complete, honest information about any condition we have. We also rely on them to explain all treatment options. We typically ask our doctors (or they just tell us) what treatment they would recommend. However, ultimately, the decision is ours to make.
Just as the world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, word of a previously confidential $6 million settlement by Neil Armstrong's family and the hospital where he died in 2012. Documents regarding the settlement, which was reached two years later, were leaked to various news organizations.
We know that most physicians are caring, capable professionals and that incidents of malpractice are not the norm. However, it may surprise many people to learn that just 2% of physicians are responsible for nearly 40% of all malpractice claims. That's the finding of a study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This month, the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear a case that challenged the legal precedent that prohibits military personnel from filing medical malpractice lawsuits against the military. The decision was not unanimous. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas -- who often aren't on the same side of Court decisions -- both voted to let the case move forward.
Most everyone would prefer a doctor who displays empathy, support and kindness over one who is all business. That's particularly true if we're dealing with a serious medical issue or are simply anxious and uncertain about our health and our future.
If you have been harmed by a doctor or other medical provider's error or negligence, you're rightly focused on how it's impacted you. You aren't likely to consider that doctor or other medical professional a victim -- particularly if you're taking legal action against them. However, the medical community has begun addressing something called the "second-victim phenomenon" and recognizing how these health care professionals are impacted when they make an error that harms someone.
It's easier than ever for women to find a female doctor. Often, they think that another woman will take them and their medical issues more seriously than a male doctor. However, female patients are still more likely to be misdiagnosed or to not have their medical conditions recognized at all than male patients.
Most people assume that doctors and other medical providers are obligated to tell patients and family members the truth. After all, how else can we make informed decisions about our health care? Therefore, a recent poll of doctors and nurses (including advance practice registered nurses) may be unsettling. The website Medcape surveyed 286 doctors and 362 nurses.
Psychologists typically have fewer malpractice suits filed against them than medical doctors who treat people for physical ailments and diseases. (Note that psychiatrists are also medical doctors and can prescribe drugs.)