Justinian Lane

You Say “Defensive Medicine,” I say “Second Opinion.”

Walter Olson quotes Charity Doc's post about problems with the health system.  Surprisingly, Charity Doc considers the following to be defensive medicine.

spread[ing] the liability by consulting other doctors and specialists to get everyone under the umbrella...

Source: | PointOfLaw Forum: Does med-mal risk, like misery, love company?

Obviously, I disagree that consulting with one's peers is defensive medicine, except perhaps in the most obvious cases.  But the rest of Charity Doc's complaints are worth reading.  He assesses the numerous problems with our medical system.  Might I suggest we work on the other issues he brings up before we try and take away patient rights?

"...When ~47 millions of Americans do not have health insurance, we have a big problem. When a person in America has to make a decision between food on the table or pills in a bottle to take for his/her medical problems, it is an national disgrace... When hospitals pass on the costs of healthcare to the public by marking everything up by 1000%, we all have to pay painfully... When hospital and HMO administrators without any clinical experience or medical background can dictate what tests and studies physicians can or cannot order, the ship is being run by idiots and is doom to sink... [If the HMO's are allowing the doctor s to get second opinions - I mean practice defensive medicine - what does that say? - Justinian]"  

Source: Fingers And Tubes In Every Orifice: Taking a break

I suggest checking out the rest of Charity Doc's post as this is just a sampling.

Cross-posted at

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 9:15 AM, Apr 26, 2007 in Medical Malpractice | Walter Olson
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This is an intersting post, although defensive medicine is real, he makes a great point about the business of medicine. It is horribly inefficient! Each time a patient see's a new physician 3/4th of all the paperwork and time spent is a repeat of what was already done by someone else. This is mandidated by insurance firms and Federal Medicare laws. The system is also geared economically to reward high cost disposable equipment and repeat services. To reform medicine, we have to reform the economics of its business practices.

Posted by: Chirs | April 26, 2007 10:24 AM

Chris, you're right. Why can't we start with removing the inefficiencies of the medical system and get that fixed before we monkey with the tort system?

Posted by: Justinian Lane | April 26, 2007 2:14 PM

To be honest, I think that if we use the purely economic model of healthcare, reforming how we pay for healthcare will cause other things to change as well. It is essential to be careful how we do it. An example of a different way to manage healthcare is how it is done by the Department of Defense for active duty troops. The problem of course is that there is no civil action of malpractice. The healtchare provider may be reprimanded, fired, etc, but all the patient gets is partial disability which is a part of their income that is not taxed.

Posted by: Chris | April 26, 2007 3:38 PM