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Why Didn't I Think Of That?

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September 20, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Is Your Medical Care As Good As Your Golf Clubs?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Only a Washington bureaucrat would think to make a point about advances in health care by discussing his experiences in buying a new set of golf clubs. One can only assume the idea dawned on him during one of his midweek golf outings.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now publishing Secretary Mike Leavitt's Blog where this important analogy appears.

Defining Personalized Medicine

The term personalized health care is often used these days. It is an exciting outgrowth of our better understanding of the human genome. We now know that our genetic makeup impacts the way we respond to certain treatments.

I worry when we use the phrase personalized medicine, for some, it creates a mental picture of a patient having one-of-a-kind pharmacology developed specifically for them, based on their phenotype, environment and genetic make-up.

The vision we are moving toward, in my mind, is best described as mass personalization. Using a thorough understanding of a person's genetic and clinical history, a doctor will select a combination from a group of biological and chemical treatment tools.

Secretary Leavitt then moves on to the purchase of golf clubs.

I decided to buy new [golf clubs]. The technology has improved and there were several aspects of my game that would fall into the category of needing treatment.

The golf professional and I measured my height and arm extension (my phenotype) and inventoried my game (genetic and health history) until we knew what the best length and flexibility of the new golf clubs shaft should be, the angle of the housel, the weigh distribution of the club head and grips to fit my touch.

The golf professional said to me, "now that we know how you align your clubs (medication) with your game (ailments), we can fit you properly. We carry ten different models of club with different combinations; the X20 Long has most of the attributes you need."

I bought a set of clubs, off the shelf that was personalized to me. This company is now engaged in mass customization.

I get it, Mike. But, I feel you should take a triple bogey on this hole.

September 10, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Influence-Peddling By Drug Manufacturers - A Little Sunshine Please

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Wouldn't you like to know your doctor was selecting the proper medication for you without any allegiance to a particular drug manufacturer?

Grassley, Kohl Say Public Should Know When Pharmaceutical Makers Give Money To Doctors, USA

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) are introducing legislation to require manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs, devices and biologics to disclose the amount of money they give to doctors through payments, gifts, honoraria, travel and other means.

"Right now the public has no way to know whether a doctor's been given money that might affect prescribing habits," Grassley said. "This bill is about letting the sun shine in so that the public can know. Whether it's dinner at a restaurant or tens of thousands of dollars or more in fees and travel, patients shouldn't be in the dark about whether their doctors are getting money from drug and device makers."

"At our June hearing, the pharmaceutical industry told the Aging Committee that they believe their practices are above-board. If that is the case, full disclosure will only serve to prove them right. If that is not the case, full disclosure will bring their influence-peddling out from the shadows. Either way, patients win," Kohl said.

Influence-peddling under the name of marketing, continuing medical education or research is still influence peddling. If my doctor just got back from a paid vacation, a.k.a. drug seminar, I would like access to that information. Maybe we could chat about the weather in Mexico. Or, the snow in Aspen.

August 28, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Staying Alive In A Hospital Requires A Big Mouth

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Because of the serious risk of becoming infected while in the hospital there are many who recommend a hospital patient become a wise-ass (in the medical sense). Take a look at these suggestions and let me know how well this patient would be received in the typical hospital.

15 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF A HOSPITAL INFECTION

Most of us will have to go into the hospital some day. Here are specific steps you can follow to protect yourself from deadly hospital infections:

1. Ask that hospital staff clean their hands before treating you, and ask visitors to clean their hands too.

2. Before your doctor uses a stethoscope, ask that the diaphragm (the flat surface) be wiped with alcohol.

6. Ask your surgeon to have you tested for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at least one week before you come into the hospital.

8. On the day of your operation, remind your doctor that you may need an antibiotic one hour before the first incision.

12. Ask your doctor about monitoring your glucose (sugar) levels continuously during and after surgery, especially if you are having cardiac surgery.

14. If you must have an IV, make sure that it's inserted and removed under clean conditions and changed every 3 to 4 days.

August 17, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Five Signs It May Be Time To Fire Your Doctor Or Lawyer

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

There it was. A perfect list of the signs that it may be time to leave your doctor. By substituting lawyer for doctor it was also a nearly perfect list of signs it may be time to move on to other legal representation.

Know when it's time to fire your doctor

Here are five ways to know when it's time to think about leaving your doctor...

1. When your doctor [lawyer] doesn't like it when you ask questions

2. When your doctor [lawyer] doesn't listen to you

3. If your doctor [lawyer] can't explain your illness [case] to you in terms you understand

4. If you feel bad when you leave your doctor's [lawyer's] office

5. If you feel your doctor [lawyer] just doesn't like you -- or if you don't like him or her

By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN

I have a proviso to Sign No. 5: I have successfully represented clients who are simply not likeable. In fact, I have informed some of them that even I, their advocate, find them to be annoying, whining, unpleasant...you get the idea. I have told them to disabuse themselves of the notion that jurors will likely develop a warm and fuzzy feeling about them despite our creative efforts at trial. Not one of the unlikeables has ever terminated our attorney-client relationship. In fact, in most instances, I believe the relationship was improved by putting the matter on the table.

August 10, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Yard Art That Saves Lives

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

I have never been much of a fan of yard art. But, there is this homeowner in Ohio whose yard art deserves an award.

Life-Size Cut-Outs Of Kids Make Speeding Drivers Slow Down

A man has resorted to using life-size posters of his children to make stubborn drivers slow down on a busy street.

Mike Wood of West Salem, Ohio took pictures of his children, blew them up into life-size and had the pictures mounted in his yard along North Main Street. So far Mike said the pictures have been effective, motorists do slow down and some even yelled at him for allowing his children to play so close to the street.

His idea has been posted on some law enforcement websites around the country. His cut-outs are available at www.25kids.com.

July 31, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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In Texas "Pro Bono" Means "Good For The Pros"

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

For my entire career I have had the mistaken impression pro bono work had to be performed on behalf of charities or the poor. You know...you take on a landlord-tenant dispute for some downtrodden soul with five children and no job who is being evicted the week before Christmas.

Now, I discover pro bono recipients can include Supreme Court justices. Who knew?

Complaints Filed Over Discounted Fees for Texas Justice Caught in Miers Nomination Flap

Mary Alice Robbins, Texas Lawyer

Travis County, Texas, prosecutors are investigating whether Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht received an illegal gift when Jackson Walker discounted its legal fees for representing him in his 2006 fight with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

On July 24, the citizens' group Texas Watch filed complaints about the reduction in Hecht's legal bill with three agencies, including the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney's Office, which investigates and prosecutes alleged wrongdoing by public officials. Jackson Walker represented Hecht in his successful challenge of the judicial conduct commission's public admonition of him for his support in 2005 of then-White House counsel Harriet Miers' failed nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Miers has been a member of Locke Liddell & Sapp in Dallas since May.

Gregg Cox, chief of the Public Integrity Unit, says the unit was aware of the situation involving the discounted legal fees for Hecht before Texas Watch filed its complaint. "It's under review and has been under review," Cox says, but declines further comment.

Jackson Walker Houston partner Charles "Chip" Babcock, Hecht's lead counsel in the appeal of the commission's public admonishment of the justice, says the firm provided 25 percent of its services to Hecht as pro bono work.

Texas Watch alleges in its complaints that Hecht may have broken the law or violated judicial canons in accepting the firm's discount, which the group estimates was worth about $100,000.

From Law.com

Does the Supreme Court justice get to reciprocate by doing a little pro bono work for the Jackson Walker firm? (Letter from Justice Hecht to "Chip": Dear Chip...It was my pleasure to vote in your favor on your last appeal. Isn't this mutual pro bono stuff great! I feel so good. Your buddy in good deeds, Nathan)

July 30, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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A New Lawyer Website Or Comedy Act?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Twice in the past few days I have read about brick walls, not usually a hot topic. One reference to brick walls was in articles regarding the hungry i, a legendary San Francisco comedy club which apparently pioneered the use of the brick wall as a backdrop for comedians. Then, I read the posting below which expressed puzzlement over the use of the brick wall approach to lawyer marketing.

Lawyer Marketing Site Hits Brick Wall

Would someone hire a lawyer based on an ad pasted to a wall? What about a digital ad pasted to a virtual wall on the Web? In either case, the answer seems obvious to me. Thus, I do not understand why any lawyer would shell out good money to purchase advertising space on the new Web site, The Lawyers Wall. Set to launch Aug. 1, the site consists of five "walls" -- the front wall, west wall, east wall, north wall and south wall. Each wall is a Web page criss-crossed with a grid. Each empty square on the grid is 20 x 20 pixels (or 400 pixels) and represents available wall space that you can purchase to post your ad.

But what you end up with, assuming some of this space gets sold, is your ad stuck in among other lawyers' ads on this virtual wall. Unless you buy a huge space, your ad would be just one of the crowd. Since the point of marketing is to make yourself stand out from the crowd, this site makes no sense to me. On top of that, I don't see anything here to draw traffic. Why would a consumer come to this site in the first place?

From Robert Amgrogi's Lawsites

Is it possible The Lawyers Wall is a tongue-in-cheek, subliminal message about the mentality of any lawyer who would choose to post an ad on a wall papered with other attorney ads? Are the posters merely a running joke?

July 26, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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My Doc Has Five Stars

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

J.D. Power, which gives ratings to hospitals, pharmacies and health insurance plans, needs to add doctors to its ratings business. We might all be better off with a Power rating than one provided by our friendly insurance company.

Insurers Put Money Behind Doctor Ratings

Insurers across the country are crunching data on the performance of individual physicians, and they're beginning to steer patients to certain docs -- and away from others -- based on the results, the Washington Post reports.

The industry says the effort will lead to better care at lower cost. Doctors say the ratings are often based on faulty data, and could lead doctors to cherry-pick healthy patients who are easiest to treat.

Despite the controversy, a doctor at a benefits-consulting firm says physician ratings are here to stay. "In every industry, consumers have a thirst for performance information," he tells the Post. "People don't want to go to a movie or buy a book or buy a car or go to a restaurant without some ability to assess value for dollar. What's taking place here is inevitable."

From the Health Blog of The Wall Street Journal

We can only hope all of this leads to better waiting room magazines.

July 17, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Are Cash Customers The Answer To Dysfunctional Health Care System?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

A doctor, writing at The Wall Street Journal Online, puts his finger on patient churning as one of the major problems in health care today. Next, he describes America's health care situation as a fragmented health system. Then, he says some insurers' referral processes and the hoops the patients and I have to jump through to get basic things done are ridiculous. Next, he has had to turn insurance contracts down because of inadequate reimbursement and let some patients find a new doctor.

Dr. Benjamin Brewer certainly describes a dysfunctional and unhealthy health care system in the U.S.

Doctor-Patient Relationship Is an Endangered Species

BENJAMIN BREWER, M.D.

Now primary-care doctors are pressured to churn patients through the office, to the detriment of relationship-building and possibly the health of their patients. At the same time, patients may have to switch doctors because of changes in their insurance.

I try to avoid the worst situations that I feel the fragmented health system can create. When deciding whether to be part of an insurer's network, I weigh whether the insurer's contract interferes too much with my shared decision-making with a patient. Some programs have interfered more with my care of patients than I bargained for when I signed up -- referral processes and the hoops the patients and I have to jump through to get basic things done are ridiculous and can undermine patients' confidence in me. I wouldn't sign up again for such programs knowing what I do now.

As much as I hate to do it to my patients, I've had to turn insurance contracts down because of inadequate reimbursement and let some patients find a new doctor.

Patients pay for the churning in terms of lack of adequate follow up, lost health histories, lower quality of service and possibly poorer health outcomes, especially those with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

What does Dr. Brewer suggest we do to correct these horrible circumstances?

As we consider proposals to improve our health-care system we need to rebuild and preserve the relationship between the patient and the physician.

It's good for patients, and business.

Still wondering exactly what he has in mind? Here is a clue from his article:

The doctor-patient relationship started to go downhill when patients stopped paying their own office bills for routine care and third-party insurance and Medicare became the driving forces.

Dr. Brewer wants us to show up at his office with cash.

July 13, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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It Is Time To Yell "Fire" In Our Courtrooms

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire (or, more precisely, warming with warming).

Psychiatrists arise!

Dr. Steven Moffic, Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in a MedGenMed video editorial:

Therefore, instead of using psychiatric insight and techniques to reduce excessive anxiety, shame, and guilt for global warming these emotions will need to be increased in the unconcerned. This kind of 'help' runs counter to our usual goal of not making people feel worse!

From Notes from Dr. RW

This may be the technique being employed by Michael Chertoff of our Department of Homeland Security when he said he had a "gut feeling" that the United States faced a heightened risk of attack this summer.

In the same spirit, I must announce that the Republicans have a secret plan to dismantle our entire system of civil justice. I feel it in my gut.

July 11, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Execute One, Save Many - China's Product Safety Program

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

In China, defective products can kill...government officials who head safety departments.

Sad Follow up: China Executes Drug and Food Safety Administrator

A few days ago, I wrote that Cao Wenzhuang, a Chinese drug and food safety department head had been sentenced to death, suspended for two years. His sentence could have been commuted if he had shown he had reformed. Reuters reports that, today, the Chinese government executed him. Zheng Xiaoyu (as spelled by the Xinhua new agency) was executed for taking bribes and dereliction of duty, according to the Xinhua.

The Supreme People's Court said the sentence was imposed due to "Zheng Xiaoyu's grave irresponsibility in pharmaceutical safety inspection and failure to conscientiously carry out his duties seriously damaged the interests of the state and people."

Reuters speculated that the unusually harsh sentence and its prompt enforcement reflect pressure on Beijing from domestic and international alarm about consumer product safety. Several products have recently faced recall in the United States over safety concerns.

From Total Injury

Sounds like a plan that could motivate the U.S. FDA - at least, the head of the FDA.

July 07, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Is SiCKO A Terrorist Plot?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

In order to win the War on Terror we may need to dismantle the U.S. Government. Draining the entire bureaucratic swamp would prevent the breeding of terrorists if we follow the logic of National Review Online columnist Jerry Bowyer. We can only imagine the number of sleeper terrorists who are lurking in or using the IRS or the FDA.

Fox News: Universal health care breeds terrorists.

Today on Fox News's Your World With Neil Cavuto, National Review Online columnist Jerry Bowyer attacked Michael Moore's movie SiCKO and its positive portrayal of the health care in countries such as Britain and France. He argued that national health care systems are breeding grounds for terrorists because they are "bureaucratic." "I think the terrorists have shown over and over again...they're very good at gaming the system with bureaucracies," said Bowyer.

Transcript:

A state run health care enterprise is bureaucratic, and I think the terrorists have shown over and over again, whether it's dealing with INS or whether it's dealing with airport security, they're very good at gaming the system with bureaucracies. They're very good at getting around bureaucracies. [...]

And if one of your guys is a jihadist, if one of your doctors is spending all the time online reading Osama bin Laden fatwas, someone's going to notice that. But the National Health Service is more like the post office, you know there's a lot of anonymity, it's easy to hide in the bureaucracy.

From Think Progress

July 06, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Correct/Guilty Parties In Liability Claims Determined By Investment Blogger

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

A major contribution to the efficiency and fairness of the American civil justice system has been made by blogger Todd Sullivan. According to a post at Law And More, which summarizes Todd's approach to litigation, it appears Todd is willing to name the guilty parties who deserve to be sued or, when he is unable to provide this service on behalf of the corporate and business community, to allow the legal system to determine both accountability and the remedy.

Sometimes, Yeah, It's Okay To File Lawsuits

Value investor Todd Sullivan, who contributes to FORBES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and his own blog Value Plays:

"It think there is a perception that because we are against what we call frivolous lawsuits, we are against ALL lawsuits when nothing could be further from the truth. What we want are the correct parties targeted, not those with the deepest pockets.

"In lead paint, the guilty parties are property owners. With these imported toys and trinkets with high contents of lead the legal system will have to determine accountability and the remedy."

Todd and his staff of incredibly talented truth-seekers are probably reviewing thousands of lawsuits and potential lawsuits daily to determine, if possible, the real guilty parties. A weekly list of Todd's Guilty Parties will be published. It is anticipated the designated guilty parties will accept their designation and pony up just compensation.

July 04, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Should We Salute Attorney Bruce Cutler For His Jury Duty Service?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Many Americans face jury duty each year. For some, it is a hardship. For others, it is educational. And, for some, it is entertaining. I am not sure where to put this instance of jury duty. You decide if this juror should even show up.

Spector's lawyer skips trial to tape TV show

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Just when we thought we'd seen it all in celebrity trials, Phil Spector's bombastic lead attorney has decided the record producer's murder case can continue just fine without jurors seeing one key element -- himself.

Bruce Cutler, the New York lawyer who opened the proceedings in April as the star performer, has taken a time out from the 10-week-old trial to film a new courtroom TV show, Jury Duty.

Promotional clips from the show's website depict people pleading their small-claims cases to Judge Cutler and a jury of three celebrities. If the celebrities -- producers promise appearances by Phyllis Diller, Dick Van Patten and assorted lesser lights -- can't decide the case, "Judge Cutler will render the verdict."

Cutler vowed Monday to deliver the closing argument in the Spector trial even though he will not have been in court for much of the defense case. He said he has been watching the trial on TV and reading transcripts of testimony.

"I'm not doing it to deprecate the significance of the case," Cutler said. "I don't need to be there every day."

June 30, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Nurses Conclude More Nurses Needed To Avoid Medication Errors

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Nurses know why injectable medication errors occur in medical facilities. And, they even know what would do the most to avoid the errors: To help reduce injectable medication errors, the vast majority of nurses (81 percent) believe their healthcare facility should ensure sufficient staff is available for timely and efficient administration. Bottom line - hire more nurses!!

Medication Errors and Syringe Safety Are Top Concerns for Nurses According to New National Study

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- The American Nurses Association (ANA) (www.nursingworld.org) today announced the findings of the 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors, an independent nationwide survey of 1,039 nurses. According to the research, the overwhelming majority of nurses (97 percent) say they "worry" about medication errors, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) believe medication errors can be reduced with more consistent syringe labeling.

The 2007 Study of Injectable Medication Errors was developed and co-sponsored by ANA and Inviro Medical Devices (www.inviromedical.com), It was designed to capture opinions, concerns and experiences about challenges related to labeling on syringes, which has been a Joint Commission recommendation since 2006. Results of the study can be downloaded at: www.nursingworld.org.

Injectable medication errors

When asked about the point in the process medication errors are most likely to occur, the majority of nurses say either during the preparation and administering of medication to patients (48 percent), or during the transcription of the initial order (47 percent).

Nurses indicate the most common factors contributing to injectable medication errors are:

* Too rushed / busy environment (78 percent)

* Poor / illegible handwriting (68 percent)

* Missed or mistaken physician's orders (62 percent)

* Similar drug names or medication appearance (56 percent)

* Working with too many medications (60 percent)

June 16, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Suggesting My Way To The Really Big Claims

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The power of suggestion is one skill I have never honed. However, as a personal injury trial attorney I have used it to the detriment of my clients. That is the suspicion of JAMES M. BECK and MARK HERRMANN at Drug and Device Law.

BECK/HERRMANN are onto something very promising for my law practice.

How Lawyers' Ads Hurt Patients

Yes, lawyer ads may cause patients to stop taking medications that they need. But we think plaintiffs' lawyers also sometimes actually cause their clients to suffer pain.

We're thinking about cases where plaintiffs' lawyers suggest to their clients that they may be in pain:

Did you receive breast implants? They can cause your joints to ache. Do your joints ache?

Were pedicle screws used in your spinal fusion surgery? They can cause people's backs to hurt. Does your back hurt?

We're big believers in the power of suggestion.

We suspect -- although we can't prove it -- that many people read lawyers' ads disparaging a certain medical treatment, visit lawyers, and then legitimately become convinced (through the power of suggestion) that they're ill.

My advertising and interviewing have been woefully inefficient at developing the really big cases that are out there among the suggestibles in our society. Henceforth I will be disparaging the conduct of only extremely well-insured or mega-rich corporations (such as, Coca Cola or Microsoft) and asking only about quadriplegia. No more joint pain or backaches for me.

June 13, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Even P.I.M.P.'s Have Feelings

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

There are Pimps and then there are P.I.M.P.s. I have spent much more time in the company of the latter (which will make my wife happy), but they do have a lot in common.

Simmering doctor-lawyer feud hits boiling point in suits

Being labeled a P.I.M.P. for the insurance industry by Palm Beach County trial lawyers didn't sit well with Dr. Michael Zeide.

P.I.M.P. is an acronym the group came up with to describe doctors who testify on behalf of insurance companies defending themselves against lawsuits from people seeking millions for injuries in auto accidents, from poorly maintained sidewalks, nursing home abuse, bad doctors and the like. The acronym stands for Professional Independent Medical Practitioners.

The rest of this story makes interesting reading at PalmBeachPost.com.

June 11, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Outsourcing Trial Practice - Indian Doctors On The Line

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Outsourcing backroom aspects of the practice of law is increasing monthly. The economies of using workers in India to do certain law office tasks are the selling point.

Bob Kraft's P.I.S.S.D., however, highlights a type of outsourcing which seems to provide a service not easily or commonly available in the U.S.

Link of the Day - MD In A Box

"MD in a Box" sounds like a new health care clinic at Wal-Mart, but is something completely different. The brainchild of Florida lawyer Dorothy Clay Sims, who became frustrated with the testimony of insurance company medical experts during depositions in her personal injury claims, MD in a Box is intended to give plaintiff lawyers an edge when deposing a defense expert.

The idea in a nutshell is that a lawyer taking a medical deposition is on a live feed with a doctor in India, who give the lawyer tips via instant messaging on what questions to ask, and whether the testifying expert is properly explaining medical tests and studies.

Do you suppose an Indian attorney/M.D. could actually take the deposition via video link? If so, is it time to avoid the middleman, the U.S. Trial Lawyer?

June 06, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The "Busy-Bee Plaintiff Bar" - What's Not To Like About That?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The nicest thing said about personal injury trial lawyers lately was in a post at Law And More.

Doylestown - Wisconsin's Liability Crisis

Had Governor Jim Boyle signed Senate Bill 402, City of Milwaukee v NL Industries might not be taking place. Neither would a whole industry have to brace to the coming "Thomas" trial [Thomas v Mallett, 701 N.W.2d 523 (Wis. 2005].

In 2005, the American Tort Reform Association voted the Wisconsin Supreme Court as one of the major Judicial Hellholes in the U.S. Mississippi was also in a similar category until it badly needed a major industry to come to the state. Toyota contacted the governor and made some suggestions. Unlike Doyle, that governor cleaned up the tort system so that Toyota and other businesses would feel safe from the busy-bee plaintiff bar. Toyota has announced its new plant will be in Mississippi.

It is somehow exhilarating to be a member of the busy-bee plaintiff bar. It sounds much more positive and altruistic than greedy trial lawyers.

May 29, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Judicial Climate Deserves Evening Weathercast

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Kiplinger has opened my eyes to the need for expanded television weather reports each evening.

What's the Liability Climate in Your State?

Which state has the fairest litigation environment? Which has the most unfair juries? Get a fix on the judicial climate for business, state by state.

Litigation is an ever-increasing cost of doing business, so when a company is thinking of starting up, expanding or relocating, it only makes sense that it give some consideration to a state's judicial climate. What are state rules like on noneconomic damages and class-action lawsuits? How fair are its judges? Is corruption a problem?

In fact, 57 percent of surveyed businesses said it was very likely or somewhat likely that "the litigation environment in a state could affect an important business decision ... such as where to locate or do business," according to "Lawsuit Climate 2007: Rating the States," an annual survey by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) and Harris Interactive. Delaware was ranked as the state with the most favorable overall litigation environment, with Minnesota and Nebraska holding down the No. 2 and 3 spots. West Virginia was ranked the worst, with Mississippi second from the bottom and Louisiana third.

Right after the traditional weather report I envision a segment dealing with the judicial climate. The weather person can stand before a map of the U.S. on which are displayed icons for judicial hellholes, unfair jury verdicts, punitive damage awards and other important measurements of regional and local judicial climate conditions.

Following this segment I suggest the weather person can launch into the tsunami of unnecessary deaths and serious injuries at the hands of doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, drug manufacturers, liquor-serving establishments and the tobacco industry. To complete the expanded climate report would then come the typhoon of unconscionable insurance company practices and the fraud on all citizens called tort reform.

May 18, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Not Quite A Jury Of Your Peers

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

A jury of your peers may not always mean you get the young ones.

Review launched over stale jurors list in St. John's

A mistrial ordered Wednesday in Newfoundland Supreme Court over an outdated jury list has prompted the provincial justice minister to launch a review of the sheriff's office, with one defence lawyer already planning an appeal on a murder case.

Justice William Adams declared a mistrial for Sean Buckingham, a St. John's physician facing 23 charges of trafficking and sexual assault, when his lawyer, Randy Piercey, argued that the local jurors list is woefully out of date.

"I suppose the central issue was that no one under the age of 28 could sit on a jury in Newfoundland, because of the way the jury system was working," Piercey said.

The list of potential jurors has not been updated since 1999, and is based on data collected by the motor vehicle registration system.

John McDonald, the acting high sheriff, said the only explanation he could offer was a breakdown in communications.

"I couldn't believe when I looked at the list, and discovered that no one born after 1980 was on the jury list," he said. "It was just luck that we found it."

Now, if we could only leave out the Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads.

May 14, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Mandatory Helmets And Wigs For Bicyclists?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

See if you can spot the error in this thinking.

Bike helmets inspire unsafe driving

Scientific American.com recently posted an article about Ian Walker, a psychologist in Bath, England, where he rode his bike around either helmeted or naked-headed to gauge how motorists behave in both situations. Ian had heard several complaints from fellow riders that wearing a helmet seemed to result in bike riders receiving far less room to maneuver--effectively increasing the chances of an accident. So, Walker attached ultrasonic sensors to his bike and rode around Bath. After being overtaken by more than 2300 cars he found that helmeted cyclists inspire more dangerous driving from the cars around them, while bareheaded cyclists are treated with greater respect.

His findings, published in the March 2007 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, state that when Walker wore a helmet drivers typically drove an average of 3.35 inches closer to his bike than when his noggin wasn't covered. But, if he wore a wig of long, brown locks--appearing to be a woman from behind--he was granted 2.2 inches more room to ride

"The implication," Walker says, "is that any protection helmets give is canceled out by other mechanisms, such as riders possibly taking more risks and/or changes in how other road users behave towards cyclists."

Bicycle helmets are not designed to prevent accidents. They are designed to prevent head injuries. The protection against head injuries is not canceled out by any of Walker's findings.

I believe the implication from Walker's study is that bicyclists should wear long hair wigs on top of their helmets.

February 22, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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"Lifelong" Memberships For Sale

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

There is a real need for lifelong membership programs in America. These memberships would allow all of us to come rather belatedly to a cause or organization and signify today that, despite our lifetime of disinterest, neglect and non-membership, we really, really care. Structured properly, Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, could now obtain a lifelong membership in the National Gay And Lesbian Task Force.

The lifelong membership concept received national exposure recently on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos.

"Lifelong" NRA Member Mitt Romney

BC, writing on Cliff Schecter's blog, finds a rather interesting exchange between Multiple Choice Mitt and George Stephanopoulos.

You see, Mitt-flop once again showed how shallow he was this weekend. In an interview with George Stephetal., Mitt was asked about his support for the assault weapons ban and his quote "I don't line up with the NRA." Romney, of course, said his disagreements with the NRA are minimal and that he is a lifetime member of the NRA. Here's what followed

Stephanopoulos:
When did you join the NRA?

Mitt Romney:
Within the last year and I signed up for a lifelong membership. I think they're doing good things and I believe in supporting the right to bear arms.

Yes, Mitt-flop believed so much in the NRA that he became a lifelong member (last year). His ridiculous reversals have become embarrassing, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Thanks to Emboldened.

February 19, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Sometimes The Train Of Thought Leaves The Station Early

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

When a trial is going really badly you find yourself wondering if there were some way to make this nightmare end. It is possible that this experienced defense attorney has come up with a dandy exit strategy. It may only work for gray-haired counsel, however.

Mistrial Declared After Lawyer Failed to Finish Closing Argument

A judge in Farmville, Va., declared a mistrial in an attempted-murder case after the defense lawyer said he couldn't continue his closing statement because he had lost his train of thought.

Judge Ernest P. Gates Sr. also suggested that attorney James E. Sheffield seek medical help.

Gates declared the mistrial Thursday in the case of a man accused of shooting a police officer in the leg in 2005.

Sheffield, 74, a former judge, returned from a recess to say that he could not continue the closing argument.


January 21, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Canadian Emergency Rooms May Now Be Less Crowded

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Canadians may have hit upon a novel way to lessen the crowding at emergency rooms.

Woman files complaint that doctor offered patients $10 to go home

An Echo Bay woman plans to file a complaint with Sault Area Hospital that an emergency room doctor was offering patients $10 to go home.

This may also be of some interest to the street people who could pick up at least $10 a day while just sitting in a waiting room.

January 20, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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What Mark Twain Says About Health Decisions

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Who would think Mark Twain has anything to say about health care or our personal health decisions? Well, it turns out that Steve Pavlina does. A short excerpt from his thought-provoking post:

Health Studies Are Worthless to Those Who Care About Health

Often people ask me what I think of the latest health study about the benefits of X or the harmful effects of Y.

I usually tell them I consider it meaningless.

Here are four reasons why I don't rely on "scientific" studies for making personal health decisions... and just to make it more interesting, I'll splice in some Mark Twain quotes:

1. Everyone has an agenda.

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." - Mark Twain

Fat doctors write health books with nearly identical openings: "Here's why everyone else is wrong and I'm the only one who's right." Health magazines are owned by supplement makers. Drug companies sponsor TV news programs. People retire from the FDA to take up lucrative positions in the pharmaceutical industry, sometimes after owning stock in the companies whose drugs they were responsible for approving. I could spend a lifetime trying to sort it out, but I wouldn't have enough fingers for all the finger pointing.

I'm not suggesting every agenda is negative or evil... just that accuracy isn't always the #1 concern.

After reading Steve's article, I am wondering what Will Rogers has to say about Tort Reform?

January 08, 2007

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Now We Need A Tech Check Of The Tech Checker

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

California has discovered an amazing fact. Technicians trained and employed to do nothing but check the work of other technicians find errors.

Tech-Check-Tech: New California Regulation Will Help Prevent Medication Errors

Regulation which took effect on Jan. 5, 2007, is designed to reduce medication errors in California hospitals and free pharmacists for greater involvement in direct patient care rather than in non-discretionary (clerical) tasks. The new regulation will allow general acute care hospitals to employ specially trained pharmacy technicians to check medication cassettes and the work of other technicians, thereby freeing pharmacists to expand their role in patient care areas to ensure the safety of the medication use process.

The results of the first "tech-check-tech" study, which were published in the American Journal of Healthy-System Pharmacy in 2002, demonstrated the safety of having specially-trained technicians check the work of other technicians to prevent medication errors.

It is anticipated that the next reduction in errors will be achieved by the "tech-check-tech-check-tech-check-tech" program now under study.

December 03, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Flaws And Glitches In Medical Diagnosis To Be A Thing Of The Past

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Flaws and glitches have now been isolated as the causes of serious diagnostic errors in the practice of medicine. I had foolishly thought the problem was more serious than that. Thankfully, there is a computer program that may help. But, what are we going to do with the error messages that will shut down the computer just when the doc is diagnosing you?

Wall Street Journal Examines Efforts By Kaiser Permanente, VA To Prevent Diagnostic Errors

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday examined how Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Veterans Affairs "are leading new efforts to improve diagnostic accuracy." According to the Journal, "diagnostic errors are the Achilles' heel of medicine -- yet little has been done to prevent their deadly toll."

Studies have found that diagnostic errors occur in 10% to 30% of cases and "generally stem from flaws in doctors' thinking, glitches in the health care system or some combination of both," the Journal reports. According to a 2002 study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, diagnostic errors that might have changed patient outcomes are found in 5% to 10% of all autopsies. A study published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that of 300 closed medical malpractice claims, 59% involved diagnostic errors that injured patients.

Kaiser, VA Efforts

In response, Kaiser and VA have begun to use Internet-based "decision-support" programs, such as isabelhealthcare.com, that provide physicians with "an array of possible diagnoses they might not have considered" and prompt them to "perform appropriate tests on patients with certain symptoms," the Journal reports.

November 12, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Spotting The Problem Dental Patient

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Gather around, fellow dentists. I am going to help you prevent malpractice lawsuits.

First, shoot the patients.

Risk Management: The Top 10 Mistakes Dentists Make

Identifying risks can prevent malpractice lawsuits.

Mistake No. 1

Failure to recognize problem patients

Early recognition of problem patients is important for risk management. Problem patients may exhibit traits that include lengthy care histories from many providers, courses of care dominated primarily by emergency visits, constant complaints about past or current care, ongoing failure to pay for services, and consistent failures to adhere to advice and instructions. These traits are common in plaintiffs and litigious patients. Prudent practitioners who identify these traits early may discharge or not accept these patients. Often, such decisions save time, money, and aggravation. If you care for such a patient, document the care and issues of the problem.

Solution: Develop systems that will alert you to problematic patients early to determine if patients are worth long-term aggravation.

August 23, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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President Bush Tries Cattle Prods On Congress

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

President Bush, fresh from his Texas ranch, is now using cattle prods to drive Congress to action on medical malpractice damage caps before his Republican herd is stampeded out of Washington in November.

The Washington Post headlines the story - Bush prods Congress on medical liability limits.

"These trial lawyers need to back off," Bush told a health care forum before attending a fund-raiser for Minnesota Republican candidates for Congress.

Bush campaigned for the presidency on an agenda that included capping malpractice damages, arguing that they were driving up the cost of health care. However, with three months before the November elections where control of Congress is up for grabs, the chances of legislation becoming law are slim.

It is not clear whether the cattle prods are being used to drive the Democrats off or to move the Republicans forward.

August 18, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The Nation's Most Profitable Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Here is a man who really maximized his profit margin. He probably never had to raise his rates.

N.D. Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Bogus Malpractice Insurance

William A. Ledee III, 63, agreed to forfeit $10 million in cash and property as part of a plea agreement in federal district court in Atlanta, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said.

Ledee collected money as insurance premiums and spent it on homes in Hilton Head, S.C., and Dunedin, Fla., an office building in Marietta, Ga., luxury cars and other items, the prosecutor said.

He ran an assortment of companies that advertised medical malpractice coverage, but there was no coverage, no loss reserves or other assets that legitimate insurance companies must have, Nahmias said.

August 15, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Guantanamo Drug Testing?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

We may have found a new mission for the prison camp at Guantanamo, Cuba.

An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse. The New York Times piece may actually be a sly leak of a secret Bush Administration program in the War on Terror.

Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials

The proposed change includes provisions intended to prevent problems that plagued earlier programs. Nevertheless, it has dredged up a painful history of medical mistreatment and incited debate among prison rights advocates and researchers about whether prisoners can truly make uncoerced decisions, given the environment they live in.

Until the early 1970's, about 90 percent of all pharmaceutical products were tested on prison inmates, federal officials say.

Prisoners, drug companies and the Bush Administration working together to make us safer and healthier.

August 04, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Shut Down Law Schools

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The remedy for Litigation Mania, according to The Conservative Voice, is to educate fewer lawyers. I am totally in support of any program that would reduce the number of law school graduates. In fact, I believe there is no reason to create any additional lawyers. Our society has an ample supply of skilled attorneys in every field, especially lawyers fighting for justice. It simply makes no sense to pump out more and more of us when our country really needs more scientists, engineers, school teachers, nurses, linguists, politicians, FEMA officials and conservative talk show hosts.

I propose a variation on the old Make Love, Not War placards and billboards: Make Brainless Tort Reformers, Not Lawyers.

Lessen Litigation Mania by Requiring Public Universities to Change their Enrollment

One mechanism to trim litigiousness is tort reform. Indeed, tort reform initiatives - such as restrictions on punitive damage awards and altering joint and several liability rules to limit recovery to the proportion of each defendant's responsibility - are sensible. But perhaps there is an even easier way to combat litigation mania and encourage business innovation at the same time - make fewer lawyers and make more scientists.

I believe we need sensible legislation at both the state and federal levels that would require public schools to decrease law school enrollment by 25% while concurrently increasing enrollment in the hard sciences by 25%.

July 29, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Greedy Trial Lawyer For Justice

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Henceforth, I am Greedy Trial Lawyer For Justice. But, my nickname will remain Greedy Trial Lawyer.

Given the seemingly insurmountable negative association that the term trial lawyers has among various constituents, ATLA recently announced that it is changing its name to American Association for Justice.

The "Association of Trial Lawyers of America" becomes "American Association for Justice" as Part of a PR Overhaul

July 28, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Demand A Free Lunch At Your Pharmacy

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The next time you fill a prescription I suggest you demand a free lunch. The New York Times is reporting that free lunches are being provided to doctors and their staffs as an inducement to prescribe certain drugs. Why not eliminate the middle man and enjoy the lunch yourself. If you use really expensive drugs I believe a dinner may be in order. If this works you will be eating your way to better health. And, getting a much better deal on your medications.

Drug Makers Pay for Lunch as They Pitch

Anyone who thinks there is no such thing as a free lunch has never visited 3003 New Hyde Park Road, a four-story medical building on Long Island, where they are delivered almost every day.

Free lunches like those at the medical building in New Hyde Park, N.Y., occur regularly at doctors' offices nationwide, where delivery people arrive with lunch for the whole office, ordered and paid for by drug makers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Like the "free" vacation that comes with a time-share pitch attached, the lunches go down along with a pitch from pharmaceutical representatives hoping to bolster prescription sales. The cost of the lunches is ultimately factored in to drug company marketing expenses, working its way into the price of prescription drugs.

Doing business over lunch is a common practice in many fields, but drug makers have honed it to perfection, particularly since 2002, when the drug industry adopted a new code banning many other free enticements -- golf outings, athletic tickets, trips and lavish dinners for doctors. The code gives approval to modest meals in the course of business. And conventional wisdom in both the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession is that a lunch is too small to pose an ethical problem. But a growing number of critics say that even those small lunches should be banned.

July 27, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Watch For The Greedy Trial Lawyer Movie

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The headline grabbed my attention. 'Anonymous Lawyer' Lands a Book Deal

In yet another example of the buzz that can be created by blawging, Jeremy Blachman, who started penning the Anonymous Lawyer blawg a couple of years ago, has signed a book deal and has his first book, "Anonymous Lawyer," hitting stores this week.
I immediately called my agent to see why I have not been offered a book deal. He told me he was working on a Batman-type costume (mask and all) so I could appear in a movie series. Apparently, he only reads comic books.

July 03, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Churchgoing Merits Better Insurance

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

America, there is a chance we can finally get a handle on our insurance problems. If we attend church regularly and end our consumption of alcohol there appears to be an insurance company that will bless us with special benefits. (I am not sure if these include lower rates.)

GuideOne Insurance offers special benefits for churchgoers

The blessings are abundant for faithful churchgoers in special endorsements to insurance policies offered by an Iowa company that describes itself as one of the nation's largest insurers of churches.

GuideOne Insurance, founded in the 1940s to offer lower insurance rates to people who didn't drink alcohol, now offers special benefits for regular churchgoers.

The company launched its FaithGuard endorsements to property and casualty policies in two Missouri markets in August 2004 and expanded to those GuideOne policies up for renewal in 19 states, including Nebraska, last year.

Now, after a year, the company said it is adding FaithGuard endorsements at a rate of more than 160 per day.

The FaithGuard endorsement on an auto policy waives the deductible expense for an insured churchgoer in an accident that happens while on the way to or from church, among other benefits. It also pays toward tithing or church donations if the insured is accidentally injured in the covered vehicle.

There are also protections for those conducting church functions in their homes.

Currently 46,000 people have the endorsement, which may be added at no charge to regular GuideOne homeowners and auto policies, said spokeswoman Emily Abbas.

June 28, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Karl Rovian Campaign Advice For Trial Lawyers Running For Congress

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

I appreciate the Walter Olson post at Overlawyered that will help me shape my campaign strategy when I run for Congress.

Memo to campaign consultants

If you're running someone for Congress and he wants to make an issue out of his support for litigation reform -- even if, or especially if, he's actually shown a willingness to support such reform as a state legislator -- it's probably best if his own law firm doesn't have a full-page "We get results!" ad in the Yellow Pages inviting victims of "slip and fall injuries, medical negligence ... dog-bite injuries, wrongful death [and] defective products" to "put our experience to work for you. ... No fee unless you collect." (Eric Zorn, "Candidate's reform talk may be adding insult to injury", Chicago Tribune, Jun. 22).

I will have to change my firm advertising to say, "We get relatively modest and extremely fair results!" And, I will definitely need to downplay my firm's experience. Walter could be the next Karl Rove.

June 18, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The British Solution To Hospital Bed Shortage

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

A hospital in England has solved its bed shortage problem. But, what will the patient do for lunch and dinner?

A hospital patient was sent to a bed and breakfast because of a chronic beds shortage.

The psychiatric inpatient was being treated at the Edale Unit, at Manchester Royal Infirmary, which cares for people considered a risk to themselves or others.

Earlier this month staff on the unit, where many of the patients are sectioned, and have illnesses including schizophrenia, manic depression and dementia, gave him £30 a night for five nights to pay for a bed and breakfast room.

June 13, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Primer On Blogging Like A Lawyer

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

When I was a youngster, many trials ago, I wanted to grow up to be a disk jockey. So, I practiced the jazzed-up jargon of the local DJ's when nobody was around. My "training" was probably deficient since I never went live over the airwaves with my patter. Over at The Blorg sounding like a lawyer writing a blog is the fantasy curriculum. Who knew that one day I would be the emulated one?

How to write like a lawyer blogger

I was brain-storming ideas on how to make with the mad blog hits, and I figured being a lawyer would help greatly. Since I'm not a lawyer, I was trying to think of ways to sound like a lawyer.

1. Don't copy-edit your work. The people know what you meant to write.

2. Can't get your idea out in the first paragraph? Keep going until it works. Don't worry if it takes you a few thousand words, you'll get it right.

3. We all know what them fancy lawyerin' terms mean. Don't bother explaining them.

4. Use pig latin phrases....lawyers get tired of the regular latin. Instead of "quid pro quo"...try "uidqay ropay oquay" Ergo propter hoc....goray ropterpay ochay. Works every time.

If you are tempted to learn more so you can sound like Denny Crane on Boston Legal there are 6 other pointers.

June 10, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Trial Lawyers Helping Medicare Recover Improper Hospital Payments For Botched Care

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

You are a hospital that has just botched the care of a patient so badly that huge additional hospital expenses are piling up. What should you do with the bills? If possible, send them to Medicare. That may well be the standard practice according to multiple lawsuits just filed in a number of states.

Some public spirited trial lawyers have undertaken the mission to put a stop to this practice and to recover the improper payments on behalf of our government which, not surprisingly, is totally oblivious to this money-making hospital scheme.

Lawsuits Filed On Behalf Of Federal Government Say Providers' Medical Errors, Subsequent Treatment Wrongly Charged To Medicare

Two law firms have filed lawsuits in multiple states over allegations that a number of hospitals have improperly billed Medicare for treatment of injuries or illnesses caused by medical errors, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Times, the lawsuits, which "could potentially win millions of dollars," do not involve specific allegations of wrongdoing "but seek instead to find evidence of such treatments, arguing that Medicare should be reimbursed" (Yi, Los Angeles Times, 6/7).

The lawsuit alleges that the companies "breached their duties to Medicare" when they accepted "millions of dollars in payments" for treatment of injuries or illnesses caused by medical errors (Baskin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/7).

May 25, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Bribing Our Way To Better Medical Care - The Clinton-Obama Approach To Tort Reform

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have paused on their march to the White House to deal with medical malpractice and our tort system. In the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine they have published an article that contains a few important truths and a proposal to bribe medical providers to level with patients.

Who can argue with the title of the article, Making Patient Safety the Centerpiece of Medical Liability Reform? And, any thinking person knows that caps on damages do not prevent medical errors or provide fair compensation to patients. (In fact, caps are designed to do just the opposite.)

Then we come to the bribe. Medical providers, apparently, require the establishment of a confidential disclosure system for medical errors. Clinton and Obama want to incentivize providers to do what their professional ethics and the medical standards of care already require be done - to report errors to injured patients and to others in the medical care system. A bribe by any other name is still a bribe.

If this concept has legs in the medical field, I can see its application to politics and government. Nothing else has worked to bring out the truth from the gang in Washington.

To improve both patient safety and the medical liability climate, the tort system must achieve four goals: reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries, promote open communication between physicians and patients, ensure patients access to fair compensation for legitimate medical injuries, and reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Addressing just one of these issues is not sufficient. Capping malpractice payments may ameliorate rising premium rates, but it would do nothing to prevent unsafe practices or ensure the provision of fair compensation to patients.

Studies show that the most important factor in people's decisions to file lawsuits is not negligence, but ineffective communication between patients and providers. Malpractice suits often result when an unexpected adverse outcome is met with a lack of empathy from physicians and a perceived or actual withholding of essential information. Stemming the causes of medical errors requires disclosure and analysis, which create tension in the current liability climate.

To overcome the impasse in the debate on medical liability, we have introduced legislation, the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) Bill (S. 1784), to direct reform toward the improvement of patient safety. Our proposed MEDiC program provides grant money and technical assistance to doctors, hospitals, insurers, and health care systems to implement programs for disclosure and compensation. The MEDiC model promotes the confidential disclosure to patients of medical errors in an effort to improve patient-safety systems. At the time of disclosure, compensation for the patient or family would be negotiated, and procedures would be implemented to prevent a recurrence of the problem that led to the patient's injury.

Any apology offered by a health care provider during negotiations shall be kept confidential and could not be used in any subsequent legal proceedings as an admission of guilt if those negotiations ended without mutually acceptable compensation.

Under our proposal, physicians would be given certain protections from liability within the context of the program, in order to promote a safe environment for disclosure. By promoting better communication, this legislation would provide doctors and patients with an opportunity to find solutions outside the courtroom.

May 21, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Frivolous Lawsuit Night - Coming To A Ballpark Near You?

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Tim Ellsworth alerts us to a July 2 celebration I wish I could attend - "Frivolous Lawsuit Night".

Take me out to the ballgame or I'll sue

Those crazy minor league baseball teams and their promotions. The Altoona Curve on July 2 will sponsor "Frivolous Lawsuit Night" at the ballpark.

The event was inspired by the ridiculous lawsuit filed by Michael Cohn against the Anaheim Angels because he didn't get a red tote bag at the team's Mother's Day promotion.

So what exactly does "Frivolous Lawsuit Night" entail? For starters, a whole bunch of lawsuit-friendly giveaways.

In case they, too, are a little miffed about being denied any Mother's Day freebies, the first 137 guys at the park will be given a pink tote bag.

The first 137 thirsty but thermally unaware women in attendance will get burn-proof lukewarm coffee.

And the kiddos have a treat coming their way too. The first 137 inexplicably hungry children will get a beach ball, complete with a warning not to ingest it.

"We realize that these giveaways as part of our Salute to Frivolous Lawsuit Night are fairly stupid and serve no real purpose," said Curve General Manager Todd Parnell. "But if our fans don't like them, then they can sue us!"

What a clever idea. I like this guy.

May 19, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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The Biblical Solution To Medical Tort Reform

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

The State of Washington is so far up in the corner of our country that it may be drifting off into La La Land. This editorial takes the biblical approach to the "medical reform debate".

Pull plug on groundless malpractice lawsuits

"As corny and simple and lawyer-averse as it sounds, what the ultra-complicated medical reform debate really needs is a healthy dose of respect for one another, and the law. Except in cases of true harm, go and sue no more."

I thought Washington could pull the plug on doctors who commit malpractice. Go and practice no more. Sounds fair to me.

May 02, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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Medical Breakthrough - You Will Never Guess What It Is

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

Health Care providers have discovered a new concept - measure twice, cut once and its little sister, a stitch in time saves nine.

Verbal Medical Order Errors Reduced To Zero With Simple Change

Hospitals have spent millions of dollars on computerized physician order entry systems to reduce medical errors, but a simple change in the way verbal orders are entered in the system -- so simple that it cost nothing to implement -- has reduced errors to zero, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

"By simply having the resident read back the order before he or she entered it into the computer, we reduced verbal order errors from 9.1 percent to zero," says Michael Vossmeyer, M.D., a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's and the study's main author.

Wow!! The secret to avoiding mistakes is taking the time to begin with. I will have to pass on this novel idea. Thank you, Medical News Today.

May 01, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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No More Guarantees

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

It stopped me in my tracks when I read Top Ten Things To Look For In A Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Attorney.

For years, potential clients have asked me, "Mr. Greedy Trial Lawyer,how much is my case worth?" And, for years, I have been responding, "I can guarantee you it is worth millions but only if I handle it." I thought cockiness was the front-end of competence. Who would want to hire a cautious, timid soul unable to immediately put the value of claim into a mega-buck slot? After reading this article I may leave off the guarantee part.

ASK THIS QUESTION TO EVERY ATTORNEY YOU SPEAK TO: How much is my case worth?

Why? Because there are some attorneys who will claim, on your very first visit that your case is worth a ton of money- some even say "Millions!" Others are not so cavalier, and take a more cautious approach.

If a lawyer tells you your case is worth Millions, ask him to put that in writing. Why? Because no lawyer can promise or guarantee any outcome to a client. Watch what happens when you ask that lawyer to put his 'guarantee' in writing. He'll quickly backtrack and make some excuse for not putting it in writing. Be careful of an attorney who makes such promises without thoroughly knowing all the facts of your case, and without having reviewed your records.

April 30, 2006

By Greedy Trial Lawyer

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From Montana Comes National Legal Care For Malpractice

Category: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

There is this blog from Montana. It goes by the name of Rabid Sanity. Steve, a lawyer, is its brain. Out of Steve's brain has tumbled this insanity.

So, my solution is instead of universal health care, let's make national legal care for malpractice. Take malpractice out of the hands of lawyers looking for a killing and make it only possible for government lawyers to sue or defend med mal cases. You take away the profit motive, while still preserving the patient's right to recover for gross negligence. Sure, government lawyers would lack the incentive to fight to the death on every issue, but that may not be such a bad thing.

Steve has spent too much time in the back country.