Strange bedfellows: A hospital accepts a $25 million gift and decides to name a tower after a trial lawyer
“But doctors questioned the source of the generosity. A plaintiff’s lawyer who often has sued doctors, O’Quinn made some of his fortune on litigation involving breast implants, which bankrupted a company (Dow Corning) even though the consensus later developed that the science didn’t back up the claims. Doctors ultimately were dismissed from the suits.
In July 2005, a Corpus Christi federal judge fined O’Quinn’s law firm for its part helping to produce what she called bogus diagnoses involving the occupational illness silicosis, a serious and occasionally fatal lung disease. She said the claims ‘defy all medical knowledge’ and the diagnoses were about ‘litigation rather than health care.’
Dr. Priscilla Ray, a psychiatrist who wrote the petition, said that even though doctors were let out of the breast-implant litigation, it was onerous because they had to hire lawyers, prepare for trial and be deposed.
‘The bottom line is, Mr. O’Quinn has contributed toward the litigious environment in which doctors work, toward the changed relationship between doctors and patients,’ said Ray. ‘Now, doctors have to fight not to see each patient as potential plaintiff, and patients might have impaired confidence in their doctor.’” (via GruntDoc)
Overlawyered urges St. Luke’s not to take the money:
“O’Quinn was the chief driver of the silicone breast implant litigation, which though decisively refuted in its major scientific contentions inflicted billions of dollars in costs on medical device providers and, not incidentally, plastic surgeons. And just this year O’Quinn’s law firm was singled out for condemnation by federal judge Janis Graham Jack in her scathing ruling on the shoddy business of mass silicosis-screening — ‘diagnosing for dollars’.”