Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why I don't practice in Florida

This is an excellent example of why I get many offers of "great" practices to join in Florida --- sort of lurid sales pitches from snake oil salesmen sitting in a snake pit.

A jury has awarded $8.25 million to a Fort Myers woman who claims a Naples-based plastic surgeon botched a breast augmentation.....Aills' lawsuit said Dr. Luciano Boemi failed to inform her surgery could result in damage to her body. During the surgery, the suit contends, Boemi failed to ensure blood continued to flow in her breasts and caused a loss in sensation.....The jury of four men and two women awarded Aills $250,000 in actual damages to cover medical expenses and personal costs. The other $8 million was for pain and suffering.
Okey-dokey. Let's say, for argument's sake, that the plaintiff was correct, and that real malpractice occurred. The article states the patient went on to have a total of 13 surgeries, with what sounds like eventual loss of both breasts, and the $250K covers those expenses. But $8 milliion for pain and suffering? How did they settle on a figure of $4 million per breast? I doubt that even any of these ladies have Lloyd's of London insurance coverage that extensive for their cleavage.

Whenever I see an award in a malpractice case that is this high, I remind myself to continuously express to patients one of the basic tenets of life: Bad things happen. Sometimes, they happen despite the best efforts of everyone involved.

Surgery, like life, offers no guarantees.