Although doctors, hospitals, and insurers may howl about the professional harms they claim to suffer due to medical malpractice lawsuits, research studies show that it’s just a tiny slice of MDs who lose in court and must pay up for injuring patients. Further, the data show that the problem few doctors don’t rack up one, but two or three malpractice losses before they even start to see their work curtailed.
Common sense would suggest that if judges and juries find doctors’ conduct egregious enough to slap “frequent flyers” with multiple losing malpractice verdicts, these MDs might best be parted of the privilege of treating patients. Not only doesn’t that occur often enough, a Wall Street Journal investigation has shown the terrible consequences that can result for patients and taxpayers alike when it doesn’t.
The federal government, the newspaper reported, long has struggled to provide promised care through the Indian Health Service (IHS) to those who live on rugged, spare, and sprawling reservation lands. This obligation to provide such medical services is embedded in the Constitution and old treaties. But if it’s tough to get doctors to practice in rural America — where the hours may be extra long and the pay decidedly lower than cities — it had become a nightmare for the IHS to fill its many vacancies.