In his opinion published in The New York Times on February 21, 2010, Republican Presidential Hopeful (and current leading Republican contender) Newt Gingrich wrote as follows:
CAT scans, blood tests, ultrasounds, Caesarean sections — in many instances, these diagnostic tools and procedures are vital for treating patients. Too often, however, such procedures are ordered unnecessarily and drive up the cost of medicine for patients, taxpayers and insurance carriers.
A new Gallup poll, commissioned by Jackson Healthcare, indicates that doctors believe an astounding one in four health care dollars is now spent on unnecessary care.
Doctors order these procedures to protect against frivolous suits filed by trial lawyers seeking an easy payout, particularly after a doctor makes a simple mistake. Seventy-three percent of the doctors surveyed said they had practiced defensive medicine in the past year. As a result, American patients not only endure extra hours of tests and treatments but also pay more for health care.
If President Obama and Congress are serious about reducing health care costs, then the more than $600 billion a year in unnecessary care should be at the top of the list. Congress must give states the incentive to reform their civil justice systems so that lawyers will think twice before suing doctors for frivolous cases. There is a place for health courts that address only medical malpractice cases, and a need for caps on damages for “pain and suffering” that have nothing to do with lost wages or actual damages. Doctors who incorporate best medical practices should be protected from lawsuits altogether.
These reforms would allow doctors to stop playing defense, and make it possible for patients and taxpayers to better afford health care.
In his book, To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, published in May 2010, Mr. Gingrich focuses not on the victims of medical malpractice or the prevalence of medical malpractice mistakes but rather on his attack on medical malpractice lawyers: “For most doctors and businesses, litigation reform is important, but it’s not dire. But for the trial lawyers — the reactionary defenders of the old order — this is a life-or-death issue. Their status, their incomes, their ambitions to some day own a large private plane and a baseball or football team, or to buy a Senate seat or a governorship — all these dreams could be destroyed if litigation reform led to fewer lawsuits or smaller awards.” (page 36 of Mr. Gingrich’s book).
Newt Gingrich states on his presidential candidate’s website, under the heading “Newt’s plan to save lives and money,” in paragraph number 10: “Stop junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of medicine with medical malpractice reform” without explaining what he means by “junk lawsuits,” without describing his proposed “medical malpractice reform,” and without setting forth how his proposed medical malpractice reforms will affect the innocent victims of medical malpractice whose lives have been permanently disrupted, or whose lives and the lives of their families have been destroyed because of medical malpractice.
Mr. Gingrich, we ask you this simple but important question: What are your plans to reduce the occurrences of medical malpractice and to insure that the victims of medical malpractice are fairly and fully compensated for their losses?
If you are a negligent doctor or a hospital that experiences medical malpractice, then you should be happy with Newt Gingrich’s position on medical malpractice reform. If you are the innocent victim of medical malpractice whose life (and the lives of your family) have been forever harmed due to the medical negligence of a health care provider, then you should be concerned whether Newt Gingrich’s medical malpractice views place the profits of negligent health care providers over the life-long suffering of the innocent victims of medical malpractice and how Newt Gingrich’s proposals may affect your right to be fairly compensated for your losses.
If you or a loved one have been harmed due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your local area who may be able to assist you with your medical malpractice claim, or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.