My take: Malpractice, age management

1) A reader writes: “What do you believe are the rights of a legitimate victim of medical malpractice who was misdiagnosed, had a procedure done that was done improperly, was unnecessary, and damaged them to the point that they will have permanent damage?”

My take: Victims of legitimate malpractice should be compensated. However, the system does a poor job of that. Not only does it take a significant amount of time to endure the malpractice process, more than half of the amount goes to administrative expenses such as paying the lawyers, courts and expert witnesses.

Physician advocacy aside, there is no doubt that the malpractice system treats victims of legitimate malpractice poorly.

A proposed solution would be a workers compensation-style, no-fault malpractice system that would pay legitimately injured patients more expediently.

2) “Age management” is the latest fad to hit mainstream medicine and is a $50 billion industry. And growing.

My take: Patients are enamored with the “preventive” aspects of this field:

“Regular doctors could not even come close. When I have gone to them they tell me I am crazy and should not even look at these things and that I should wait until I have a problem. But to me that is closing the barn door after the horse is gone. Most doctors are mechanics. They fix things. To me, prevention is the name of the game.”

Ironically, there is no evidence that taking supplements, hormones or undergoing extensive lab testing prevents anything, let alone aging.

The anti-aging movement is gaining momentum because it taps into several sources of frustration.

Physicians are drawn to it because of the paucity of insurance paperwork, the ability to spend time with patients, and being fairly compensated for their work.

Patients who believe that “more medicine and testing equate to better care” are getting their wishes fulfilled by willing doctors who prescribe scores of supplements and endless testing.

One note from this. It shows that patients are willing to pay for what they perceive as receiving appropriate preventive care as well as spending time with the physician.

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