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NEWS
December 20, 2005
SEN. RICK Santorum says the biggest crisis in health care is lawsuit abuse. He has twice sponsored a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards. But in 1999, his wife sued a doctor for $500,000. She claimed that a spinal manipulation by her chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering. "We need to do something now to fix the medical liability problem in this country," Santorum has said. It is clear Santorum is a faithful member of the "Don't do as I do, do as I say" "values" system.
NEWS
January 26, 1993 | BY MARK R. CUKER
Former President Bush's charge that "slick lawyers" are exploiting a "crazy" legal system, making doctors "afraid to practice medicine," is only the latest of many attacks claiming that malpractice suits are driving up the cost of health care while benefiting only a few trial lawyers and victims. This perception is so powerful that it led many states to limit the rights of malpractice victims to sue, and to call for federal laws applying these "reforms" nationwide. Recently these charges were investigated by the doctors themselves.
NEWS
September 18, 2006
EVERY TIME I read a statement from a member of the medical community calling for more restrictions on the rights of the injured, I'm always struck by how they speak in generalities, using incomplete anecdotes, rather than citing accepted statistics. For example, in her recent op-ed, Dr. Margaret Trexler Hessen states that friends have been forced out of practice or have moved on to other careers due to too-high malpractice insurance rates. But she doesn't address how many were found negligent of malpractice before their rates rose or how many accepted higher-paying jobs.
NEWS
August 23, 1986
I will be the first to admit that true medical malpractice occurs; however, physicians now are completely at the mercy of attorneys and, in many circumstances, law suits are being filed and carried through for circumstances other than malpractice. Unfortunately, physicians are not receiving any relief from state legislators, many of whom, coincidentally, are lawyers. With this in mind, I feel that physicians should exert their own economic pressure to expedite tort reform.
NEWS
January 3, 2002 | MICHAEL SMERCONISH
BY DAY, I am one of those terrible trial lawyers the local physicians have been blaming for the rising cost of malpractice coverage. So with my bias in plain view, I thought I'd offer my own diagnosis of their problem and offer a few home remedies. First the common ground. Yes, there is too much litigation in society. But the volume of cases filed against doctors is not the reason for their increased cost of coverage. The doctors' premiums are rising because of the amount of malpractice committed by doctors, the refusal of the medical community to police itself, and poorly managed insurance companies.
NEWS
January 17, 2002
IN RESPONSE to Michael Smerconish's OpEd column "The Cure for Doctor Malpractice": The real gist of the problem is the huge jury awards in the Philadelphia area for problems that may or may not be totally related to the physician. And I have a very novel way to hold them down. Have all trial lawyers agree to a set fee for medical malpractice cases, not a contingency fee. The current system rewards the legal community with 30 to 40 percent of the award, no matter how much work is performed, even if the case is settled our of court.
NEWS
October 9, 2001 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The trial of a Downingtown man who contends that his doctors poisoned him with radiation after he had a tumor removed began yesterday in Chester County Court. Leonard Frame, 70, and his wife, Alice, allege that medical malpractice by Chester County Hospital, Excalibur Radiation Oncology and several doctors, left him with disabling, permanent physical injuries. "The issue is simple," said Frame's attorney, Steven A. Friedman. "Mr. Frame had a tumor in his bowel. No radiation therapy was necessary.
NEWS
September 8, 2006 | By MARGARET TREXLER HESSEN
AS A PHYSICIAN, I read with chagrin the op-ed by Mary Shaw, "Dr. Santorum's malpractice Rx" (Aug. 31) about Sen. Santorum's support for medical liability reform. I graduated from Jefferson Medical College, completed training at Lankenau Hospital and the Medical College of Pennsylvania, then worked in Delaware County from 1989-2004 in a practice that saw about 2,000 patients a year. As the years passed, I also saw a steady increase in malpractice litigation so that I hardly know a doctor who hasn't been involved.
NEWS
August 13, 2004
LAST week, Laura Bush was in Pennsylvania arguing that the cure for high medical malpractice insurance rates was to cap non-economic damages to the victims. On the same day, CNN reported on a study that estimated that 195,000 hospital deaths occur annually from mistakes made in hospitals. One estimate said that these errors ranked between the 3rd- and 8th-largest cause of death in the U.S. Maybe that's the cause of high insurance rates. Jacob Belkin, Philadelphia Talk about phony voters . . . I'm enjoying the battle over the petitions filed by the Nader campaign.
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BUSINESS
April 8, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Trial lawyers seeking to impose nearly $1 million in sanctions on an insurance defense lawyer they claim sabotaged a medical malpractice trial filed court papers Monday arguing that the defense lawyer had "concocted" new evidence to escape liability. Lawyer Matthew D'Annunzio argued in the filing with Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto that defense lawyer Nancy Raynor's claim of new evidence was riddled with contradictions. "Understood in this context, the Raynor team stories are simply not credible and collapse of their own weight," D'Annunzio wrote.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The defense team for lawyer Nancy Raynor, hit with nearly $1 million in sanctions because one of her expert witnesses offered banned testimony in a medical malpractice trial, filed papers Monday arguing that the weight of accumulating evidence was ground for a reversal of the penalty. In a filing with Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Panepinto, Raynor's defense team noted that three people have come forward to testify under oath on Raynor's behalf. They said she had asked the witness not to mention that a woman at the heart of a medical malpractice trial had a long history of smoking.
BUSINESS
January 30, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Medical Society, which represents thousands of the state's doctors, says it will be entering the legal battle over $1 million in sanctions imposed by a Philadelphia judge on a lawyer who represents physicians in medical malpractice cases. Society president-elect Scott Shapiro, an Abington cardiologist, said he expects his organization to file legal papers in support of Berwyn lawyer Nancy Raynor to overturn the sanctions. "Multiple physicians have reached out to me, and they have all indicated in a variety of ways that this will impact physicians' ability to have the full benefit of a complete and thorough defense if they are named in a malpractice case," Shapiro said.
NEWS
October 8, 2014
ISSUE | MED-MAL CASES Reduce lawyers' cut If commentator Shanin Specter were so empathic toward the victims of medical negligence, perhaps lawyers such as he involved in these cases would reduce their share of a malpractice award from more than one-third to 15-20 percent, thus allowing the true victim to have a more just compensation ("Victims of medical negligence pay for reforms," Oct. 2). It all depends on whose ox is gored. |Bernard S. Sobel, D.O., Berwyn Justice calculation After reading Shanin Specter's article, I am left wondering if the concern is lack of justice for victims or loss of revenue for the malpractice firms ("Victims of medical negligence pay for reforms," Oct. 2)
BUSINESS
August 25, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
After all the hand-wringing and anguish over out-of- state firms flocking to file lawsuits in Philadelphia - the law firms you see advertising on late-night television - is Philadelphia still the notorious plaintiffs' paradise of common lore? It all depends on your idea of civil litigation bliss. A look at medical malpractice awards is revealing. There is no question: Philadelphia remains the most favorable jurisdiction in Pennsylvania for lawyers seeking big payoffs, a maddening fact to the many physicians and hospitals here.
NEWS
July 26, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian and Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writers
The family of a pregnant Fairhill woman who died in 2012 after a fall at her parents' home sued the city Thursday, contending her death and her child's severe brain damage resulted from paramedic malpractice and defective equipment. The suit was filed in Common Pleas Court by Eriberto Rodriguez, widower of Joanne Rodriguez; their 21-month-old son, Xavier; and maternal grandmother Daisy Morales. "My wife should be alive today. My son should be healthy, growing, playing, laughing.
BUSINESS
June 5, 2013 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania medical-malpractice case filings fell 10 percent last year to 1,508, from 1,675 in 2011, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts reported Tuesday. In Philadelphia, the state's largest jurisdiction for malpractice suits, the number of cases was 389, the second-lowest number in a decade. In 2002, the state legislature passed a law aimed at limiting the number of malpractice suits and reducing medical errors. The state Supreme Court in 2003 ordered that malpractice suits be filed in the county where the alleged injury happened, and that patients get a "certificate of merit" from a doctor.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | Bob Moran
A Philadelphia jury Thursday awarded $6.41 million to the children of a 38-year-old man who died after doctors at Temple University Hospital allegedly misdiagnosed his heart condition. Derrick Harlem had collapsed on May 31, 2009, while playing basketball and was taken to the hospital with severe chest pain, the plaintiffs' lawyers said. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and released after being given Motrin and an antibiotic. Three months later, Harlem collapsed again while playing basketball.
BUSINESS
May 6, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia court of common pleas jury on Friday awarded $78.5 million to a woman whose 3-year-old son suffers from cerebral palsy because of what the jury found were faulty diagnostic procedures by Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, where the child was delivered. Lawyers for the woman, 34-year-old Victoria Upsey, said she arrived at the hospital in August 2008 with signs of complications that caused her unborn child to be deprived of oxygen. Their experts contended during the trial that a prompt delivery could have averted the problem, but that the physician handling the case initially concluded that the baby already had died after performing an ultrasound.
NEWS
August 18, 2011 | By Mike Stobbe, Associated Press
ATLANTA - Only 1 in 5 malpractice claims against doctors leads to a settlement or other payout, according to the most comprehensive study of these claims in two decades. But while doctors and their insurers may be winning most of these challenges, that's still a lot of fighting. Each year about 1 in 14 doctors is the target of a claim, and most physicians and virtually every surgeon will face at least one in their careers, the study found. Malpractice cases carry a significant emotional cost for doctors, said study coauthor Amitabh Chandra, an economist and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government "They hate having their name dragged through the local newspaper and having to go to court," he said.
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