24 Feb 2008

The price of egos

"Doctors shelling out more $$ for insurance" blares the headline.
Patients are increasingly heading to the courts for redress against what they perceive as negligence on the part of doctors. As a result, doctors are now shelling out more money on insurance to safeguard themselves against an increasing number of lawsuits being filed against them for misdiagnosis and malpractice.
Now this will make it seem like the doctors are unfairly targeted but given the fact that most people seeking redress know how difficult it is to sue a doctor and yet are willing to go through with it, I think it speaks volumes about the level of negligence we Trinis put up with. I personally have seen a popular south doctor diagnose a 17 years old boy with fever and prescribed Panadol, only to have the boy die a few hours later from a ruptured appendix. By the time he came to hospital, the doctor in surgery was cussing the GP 'black is white' - but refused to testify in a negligence suit.

And the GP charged the boy's family twice, once for the first visit, and a second time when he visited for a referral letter to the A & E department.
"Real life testimony speaks of blatant negligence but we have no evidence to take to court," Ramlogan said. He said it was "extremely difficult" to get expert medical evidence and testimony as the majority of doctors were unwilling to give evidence against a fellow doctor.

"Doctors have recognised that medical expert evidence is virtually impossible (in Trinidad and Tobago). Doctors work together in a close-knit community and even when they agree to testify, they charge an exorbitant fee to attend court," Ramlogan said.
The medical fraternity, the legal profession and yes, politicians (especially members of the same party) do protect each other.

The people, the ones who are 'collateral damage', are the ones who pay the price of egos.