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William B. Eadie
William B. Eadie
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Irony-Deaf AMA Supports Trial Lawyers . . . For Doctors Only

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I work at a trial law firm that has a number of practice areas, from business litigation to medical malpractice. I’m used to entities like the American Medical Association arguing that medical malpractice litigation is responsible for everything from doctor’s fleeing [insert state here] to people dying in the street—even though the facts show “tort reform” is all about insurance company profits. (If doctors are really fleeing every state . . . where are they going? The answer is, they’re not going anywhere.)

But in a dramatic about-face, the AMA has realized the error of attacking legal professionals who help people vindicate their rights. The AMA produced the following video, showing how it used trial attorneys to go after insurance companies, protecting doctors’ rights to fair compensation:

Of course, I doubt the AMA really “gets it”—they are still out to legislate malpractice entitlements so doctors to be able to be careless in treating you. But it should reinforce the basic premise that doctors and lawyers are not natural enemies. They are both professionals who help people by providing expertise and problem solving.

When we pursue a medical malpractice case, it is after careful investigation and because it is a person’s constitutional right when they believe they’ve been wronged to have a day in court. If insurance companies use the mere filing of a lawsuit as a pretext for raising insurance rates, that’s a problem we should address by changing how those companies operate, not the legal system.

More importantly, it helps correct a system that all too often doesn’t correct itself. This very American system—allowing individual citizens to wield the power of government by bringing suit, and putting citizen-juries in the decision maker’s seat—has worked well for 200 years. Maybe the AMA will recognize the irony of fighting so hard to stop a system they so readily rely on when in need. Maybe.

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