On June 16, 2009, Malcolm McConnell, a medical malpractice attorney with Allen & Allen, was interviewed by Richmond, Virginia news station TV 6 regarding the growing health care debate. The interview came after President Obama addressed the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009 at their annual meeting in Chicago.
Local Docs Weigh in on Medical Malpractice
As President Obama charges forward with his plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system, he’s making sure not to alienate any potential opponents in the process.
In his Monday address to the American Medical Association, Obama suggested reforming the system of medical malpractice recovery.
It’s an olive branch that could play well in the medical community.
“It challenges your professional integrity,” lamented Bons Secours Cardiac Surgeon Mark Bladergroen, a doctor who has been sued twice, unsuccessfully, for medical malpractice.
“No physician wants to do the wrong thing. All of us hope for the best possible outcome.” Bladergroen added that despite his trying experiences with patient lawsuits, he hasn’t changed his approach to practicing medicine.
The concern in the Obama administration, however, is that all too often doctors alter their behavior, and their methods of testing patients, to avoid exposure to the legal system.
To remedy that problem, the president has brought up the notion of “tort reform.”
“Tort reform has been a code word for taking the rights away from ordinary U.S. citizens, and victims of malpractice,” noted Malcolm McConnell, a veteran personal injury attorney for Allen, Allen, Allen and Allen.
McConnell has represented doctors and patients over the course of his career, and says the very notion of ‘defensive medicine’- that doctors call for expensive and unneccesary tests on a patient because they’re worried about getting sued- is completely unfounded.
“I cannot imagine a real world situation where any doctor of good conscience is going to perform unnecessary tests,” exclaimed McConnell.
On the other hand, Bladergroen says his many years on the job have offered him a different picture.
“I can affirm that sometimes, because of the concern of legal action, [physicians] can overdo it,” remarked Bladergroen. “Overuse of medical care, I think, can be driven by the threat of a lawsuit.”
In Virginia, all medical malpractice recoveries are capped at $2 million. President Obama says he has no interest in creating a federal cap.