Thursday, July 3, 2008

Medical Malpractice: The Irony of a Growing Cause of Death

It is said medical malpractice is now the fifth growing cause of death in the United States. It is quite ironic because you seek medical attention to stay aground, not 6-feet below it.

In any case, like the Mount Everest, it is there. We cannot deny its existence. Especially, four more to go and it would be the major cause of death of our citizens. That would be the biggest irony of all.

Lawyers, generally, battle for medical malpractice victims. But as there are always two sides of a coin, there are also lawyers who represent erring medical professionals. That is not a bad thing as we are all just doing our job.

For the medical professionals, let me just state that nobody have the monopoly of good quality service. When we are charged with a responsibility of doing something in this life, we do it well, don’t we? Now, some blame tort lawyers for the rising medical cost in the country. But who started the cycle? Who started committing wrong so the lawyers came? It can be easily answered. It’s not even a chicken and egg argument. It is clear where this started.

But in fairness to some, accidents can really happen almost everywhere and the operating table is not an exception. It’s just that we have a law. As the famous adage goes: the law may be harsh, but it is the law.

For those who have been a victim of medical malpractice, let me just remind that while it is true that the law is in your side, still there is nothing absolute in this world. Everything has an exception. Your claim cannot be pursued just about anytime you want. It is subject to what is called Statute of Limitation.

For those who are living in California, you have 3 years from the date of the injury, or one year from the date you discovered or would have reasonably discovered the injury, whichever occurs first. If your action is based on a discovered foreign object in your body, prescription does not start to run until you discover or should have discovered the object.

The periods of limitation for medical malpractice apply to minors six years of age and older. Stay healthy!