According to the Hippocratic Oath, a doctor must first do no harm. But the influence of health insurance companies on modern doctors raises the question of exactly who doctors are bent on not harming: their patients, or their corporate benefactors. This subject was the topic of a recent, disturbing op-ed piece in the NY Times, which is entitled “How Medical Care Is Being Corrupted.” The authors, both Harvard physicians, warn that:”Insurers, hospital networks and regulatory groups have put in place both rewards and punishments that can powerfully influence your doctor’s decisions”. And their warning is about doctors’ decisions that negatively impact patient care.
Moving to the courtroom setting, TortsProf Blog reports on a trend in medical malpractice trials in which informed consent is not included among the plaintiff’s claims. As Professor Chris Robinette points out, plaintiff’s lawyers are concerned that injecting the consent form into the trial when it is not an issue can prejudice a jury against their clients, if defense lawyers suggest that consent to the procedure equals consent to risks caused by negligence. To date, seven jurisdictions have adopted a ban on evidence of informed consent in medical malpractice trials that do not include informed consent claims, according to Professor Robinette. His home territory of Pennsylvania may become the eighth.
And Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, who found the bacteria that causes Lyme disease , has died at age 89.