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Some medical malpractice occurs simply because the medical provider does not spend enough time doing the job at hand. It is identical to the plumber who does a poor job making his connections in the rush to get to the next job or on the way home. Or, to the home inspector who has twice as many homes to inspect as he should have in his work day. It is not a failure of training or experience. It is not a failure to make the right choice or options at a critical moment. It is just rushing through the job.

The Daily Kos comments on a medical study of colonoscopies published in a respected medical journal.

One of the main agenda items of Republicans is the need for tort reform, especially in the area of Medical Malpractice. Their argument is that frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost of medical malpractice insurance making health care even less affordable. They blame these increased costs for defensive medicine and insurance on the Democratic Party’s alliance with the litigation bar.

No reasonable person will claim that any facet of our legal system is beyond criticism. And certainly, medical malpractice procedures need improvement. However, the need to wield this cudgel against excesses by Medical Practitioners is made clear by this article from the New York Times.

Friday’s article “Study Questions Colonoscopy Effectiveness” expands on a report that shows there is wide variation in the thoroughness of this examination among experienced gastroenterologists.

The study, of 12 highly experienced board-certified gastroenterologists in private practice, found some were 10 times better than others at finding adenomas, the polyps that can turn into cancer.

One factor distinguishing the physicians who found many adenomas from those who found few was the amount of time spent examining the colon, according to the study, in which the gastroenterologists kept track of the time for each exam and how many polyps they found.

…it looks like a minimum of several thousand individuals who took the effort to have this uncomfortable examination will die simply because these board certified physicians wanted to squeeze some more patients into their day.

…far from practicing defensive medicine, there is still wide-spread flagrant disregard for the well-being of those who trust their doctors. This was not a report from “The Nation” or a liberal think tank. The primary research came from a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, published for and by physicians.

Medical Malpractice procedures should be reformed, but the threat of serious sanctions for incompetence or blatant lack of concern, must not be lessened.

This study is shocking because it shows the relationship between time expended and outcome so clearly. There must be better ways to control this type of dereliction of medical responsibility than our current tort system. But until that is put in place, we better keep the threat of financial ruin over the heads of those in whose hands we routinely place our lives.

Florida doctors and other medical providers sometimes suffer from the same “haste makes waste” approach to medical care. One common scenario is in post-operative care when the surgeon (carefully selected as the professional to perform the surgery) moves on to his next surgery or surgeries while the patient is in the care of others in a recovery room.

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