First Do No Harm
The Cure for Medical Malpractice
I broke the code of silence that exists in every hospital medical staff by testifying in medical malpractice litigation proceedings in Madison, WI against medical surgeons in each of the three private hospitals in that city and all of the surgeons were found guilty of malpractice. I was the second surgeon involved in each case and because I was tasked with providing surgical correction of the harm caused by the original surgery I felt that I was professionally and ethically obligated to disclose details regarding each patient’s total surgical experience. In doing so, however, I paid the anticipated price and was basically “run out of town” economically for simply fulfilling professional and ethical obligations.
Dr. Donald Palmisano, AMA President-Elect defined medical malpractice as “patient care beneath an acceptable standard of care set by the law.” in 2003. My first reaction to his video declaration was, “My God! They have fallen on their own sword!” I consider his definition to be a complete abdication of our nation’s medical profession’s responsibility to their patients.
There are three systems with the potential to review questionable patient care cases:
– Medical Malpractice Litigation: Civil court with attorneys in control
– State Medical Examining Boards: Attorneys usually involved
– Medical Peer Review: Doctors in control
Doctors will continue to fail themselves and the public until, and unless medical peer review can become the primary system used for the review of questionable patient care.