Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Talkin' Bout Malpractice

Why do bad things happen to good people?

While we can't answer phiosophical questions about life and death, we try to reveal the practical reasons for people's deaths. Or at the very least what gets listed by the coroner as the cause of death. And then there's medical malpractice which goes and throws off the entire system.

We rely on doctors to care for celebrities when they're sick. But sometimes even doctors can make mistakes. As was the case for John Ritter says his family.

Early next month, in response to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Amy Yasbeck and Ritter's four children, a Los Angeles County jury will be asked to decide: Did Ritter have to die?

Lawyers for the plaintiffs fault the care Ritter, 54, received from two doctors -- one who interpreted the results of a body scan he had in 2001, the other who treated him the night he died. Defense attorneys say their clients did nothing wrong and that Ritter would have died no matter what doctors did.
We don't envy the position these doctors are in now, having to publicly justify why the medicine and procedures they prescribed were the correct courses of action at the time. It'll surely be an emotional trial for Yasbeck and her kids. What is conclusive, according to all sides, is that Ritter is dead.

Know who's not dead? Former football player Ron Springs. Yet his family is in a similar position at the complicated juncture between medicine and law.
The unexpected turn in Springs' promising and much-publicized recovery led his wife to file a medical malpractice suit Tuesday against two doctors who Adriane Springs says caused brain damage to her husband during a routine surgery to remove a cyst.

"My husband was doing so well after the kidney transplant," Adriane Springs said. "This is just a very tragic outcome."
Even though she's filed the lawsuit, Ms. Springs is still hoping that her husband will someday wake up again.
Adriane Springs is not giving up hope, saying that she rebuffed a neurosurgeon who broached the idea of taking her husband off his medication.
Proving medical malpractice, from what we've read, is a difficult process. It also costs an exhorbitant amount of money to pursue.

We think we can resolve both of these cases using simple logic. At the root of the word "malpractice" is "practice." Now, at the time of Ritter's collapse, he was practicing his part at rehearsal for the television program "8 Simples Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter." Springs, on the other hand, was not at football practice at the time he went into his coma.

Therefore, in our expert opinions, Ritter's suit should stand up while Springs' should be denied. Next case.

[Los Angeles Times]
[ABC News]

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