Jury Awards $1.5 M in Pain Case ...excessive? - page 2

When I come across precedent setting Health Care ethics cases, I thought I would share this here: Jury Awards $1.5 M in Pain Case BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A jury awarded $1.5 million to the family of an... Read More

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    I suppose until the system reinvents itself and there is a better answer to family/patient complaints, the lawsuits will continue. I do agree that some - many - are justified, but for every lawsuit that is justified there are probably many more lawsuits that are filed in pursuit of vengeance.

    My experience with this is not yet in the medical field (although I have been related a few stories by my brother who is a physician), but through the company I work for. We manufacture heavy equipment such as cranes, fork lifts, and container handlers. There are numerous accidents involving this equipment each year - they are large machines, and dangerous to operate and be around if you are not fully on guard, but they are equipped with as much safety equipment as possible. Of course, whenever there is an accident, even if the operator or person injured is at fault, our company is sued. It is a relatively small, family-owned company, and the last major US-based heavy forklift manufacturer left. However, if the litigousness of society continues to increase, this company will probably be driven out of business by frivolous lawsuits. So maybe that has something to do with why personal injury lawsuits as a whole are a sensitive subject in my book.

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    I am certainly not in favor of frivolous lawsuits. There is a need for reform. I don't think people should be able to sue for every stupid little thing in life.

    I just don't confuse that issue with justified lawsuits. This is no different here than not treating a broken leg or an MI. When a patient comes to the hospital they have the right to be treated, ESPECIALLY when it comes to end of life care. I can't think of anything worse than forcing someone to spend their last moments on earth in horrible pain. It is hard enough to watch a loved one die, but to be forced to watch them suffer needlessly is inexcusable.

    If I could design a punishment it would be to put the doctors through this kind of pain for the same amount of time that old man suffered. Then let's see if they start treating pain appropriately. Cause I guarantee you, without some kind of punishment for their actions, they will just continue on like they always have. Most people probably would prefer a lawsuit to that.
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    You're right, allowing someone to suffer like that is inexcusable, and in some cases perhaps a monetary judgement for pain-suffering is appropriate. I think that perhaps setting the bar lower (a cap on non-monetary damages?) might be sufficient with some increased penalties in other more directly-related forms. I'm glad to hear another perspective, even if it's one I don't necessarily agree with.
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    As a former acute care inpt hospice nurse, I was distressed to see some of our pts suffer when they retained their primary docs, who were not educated on proper pain and sx mgmt.

    There were times when I would beg a doc to increase a pts pain med orders, but they would not listen. In these cases, I would have to call our med director in the middle of the noc and convince him to over-ride the pcp's orders. This made some docs my "enemies", but I felt I had to sacrifice my working relationship w/ some docs in order to get pts the relief they required.

    There were times when I felt very pressured to give pain meds that were not ordered to be able to provide the pts' the relief they needed.

    Sometimes, we got admits who were in crisis due to lack of pain and sx mgmt. We received a few pts who were screaming and crying in pain. I cannot express what a relief it was to be able to give one MSO4 shot after another and finally see a look of relief and peace in the pts' eyes. I think I was almost as relieved as the pts.

    Fortunately, we had very liberal standing orders for pain and sx mgmt. The only time pain control was a problem was when a DPOA family member refused to allow proper pain and sx mgmt, or when a pt retained a pcp who was ignorant of comfort measures.

    Being able to relieve pts' suffering and allow them to actually live the life they had left was very rewarding.

    I agree with another poster that many docs will not adequately address pain control issues until they are threatened with law suits.

    I don't know who said it, but the following quote expresses my sentiments very well:

    "No greater good can man attain, than to alleviate another's pain."

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