imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Sunday, July 11, 2004
AMERICA, BY EDWARDS
Edwards loves to pontificate on his idea of “Two Americas”; it’s a gaseous rich vs. poor theme. There is another America emerging, one which has been helped along by Edwards, Esq. and his ilk. It’s an America where healthcare is hurting due to the soaring cost of malpractice insurance. It’s happening in Wyoming. Some say that “whenever profits drop [the insurance] industry declares a crisis.” It seems plausible to me that ridiculously high malpractice settlements, most of which ends up in the lawyer’s pocket, must play a part in this problem. Trial lawyers are Edwards’ biggest donors, and Edwards hates tort reform. Edwards’ America; sweet, isn’t it?
Obstetrics is failing to draw new doctors
With only a year left in her training as an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Shahrzade Tabibi has no regrets about entering a field that some veterans say is being ravaged by the cost of malpractice insurance.
Although they insist it hasn't happened yet, many veterans worry about an ultimate decline in the quality of doctors competing for training slots in obstetrics.
At Hopkins, three students in a graduating class of 115 chose OB/GYN residencies last spring, and only one did so a year earlier. At Maryland, one student out of a class of 150 entered an obstetrics-gynecology program this year. None did last year.
"People don't want to be in the delivery room - that's where the malpractice is," said Dr. Jack Gladstein, associate dean of students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Any time a baby comes out bad, the gynecologist gets sued."
The Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland, which insures 80 percent of the state's doctors, plans to increase premiums for obstetrician-gynecologists to $160,130 next year, up from $115,919 this year.
In this regard, the specialty leads all others. Neurosurgeons pay the next highest premiums - $87,860 this year and $121,464 next year.
[R]ising premiums are driving away talented students. They know that fees from the first 25 to 30 babies they deliver every year could go toward insurance. "It's a huge overhead if you're doing 100 deliveries a year," he said.