Medical Malpractice Reform: The Most Important Thing on the Planet?

Yesterday, an article by Brendan Kearney in the Maryland Daily Record reported on an insurance company’s plan to require its doctors to have patients sign waivers that limit both their rights and the amount of their damages. It starts out like this: “Eugene Rosov is passionate about what he does. ‘I live for this. It is the most important thing on the planet for me,’ Rostov said. ‘Pray God I’m not wrong.’ Was he talking about global warming or the war on terror? Try medical malpractice insurance. Rosov thinks the current method of settling malpractice claims is unfair… and jurors are not educated enough to understand the issues.”

Okay, where do I begin? The most important thing on the planet is medical malpractice policies that require doctors to limit patients’ rights? I’m speechless. Not just does this show a stunning lack of perspective, but it underscores the degree to which our opponents are fighting to limit the rights of medical malpractice victims.

Equally insane is the notion that juries are not smart enough to decide medical malpractice cases. Juries are too stupid to decide whether a doctor has committed medical malpractice, but are smart enough to consider whether the rule of reason should apply to an antitrust case or whether there has been a patent infringement. This stuff is all easy, right? I wonder if Mr. Rosov thinks juries should be able to decide which criminals to put to death.

While we are insulting the intelligence of the American people, the question of deciding whether a doctor is negligent is as complicated as wading through all the issues to decide who to vote for in the next presidential election. Should we really leave this up to the average American?

Thomas Jefferson said the saving grace of our country is the average person’s simple wisdom and common sense. They may not understand medical issues, but once the issues are explained to them, they will understand them, regardless of what Mr. Rostov thinks.

Jefferson also famously said he would prefer that a jury composed of farmers judges him than a jury of professors. I agree. But I do not think Mr. Rosov would.

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