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One Response to “Legal”

  1. doctorblue Says:

    Dear Dying, You are a very good writer. As someone with chronic illness, I find myself simultaneously enthralled and disheartened to read what you’re going through. Your pain, empathy and passion all come through in your voice. It seems so unjust that our society just accepts that those who become ill will have to go from doctor to doctor seeking a diagnosis, and once found, then seeking a doctor who knows how to treat or deal with that diagnosis. To me, becoming chronically ill seems as if someone has proclaimed “pencils down!” meaning “time is up” — whatever you’ve done with your life to date is all that you can accomplish. Yet, I’m such a fighter, I can’t bring myself to give up the hope that I will be able to become functional again.

    I watch Mystery Diagnosis on the Discovery Channel now and then. It seems there is no end to the number of people who spend years of their lives undiagnosed, going from doctor to doctor. Of course, only the happy ending stories get televised — but the diseases/conditions these people have don’t seem all that rare to me — like ovarian cancer and lyme. I truly believe that the number of “rare” diseases would drop if doctors actually diagnosed patients correctly. In my opinion, doctors should be paid based upon performance like the rest of us — not just for their useless time. Doctors should be held to a higher standard. Yet, I found like any other profession, finding a competent practitioner is like finding a needle in a haystack.

    Virginia has a “continuing care” exception to its two year statute of limitations for medical malpractice suits. It came about as a result of a state Supreme Court decision and basically tolls the statute for the same condition until treatment ends. Most Virginia medical malpractice attorneys won’t tell you about this exception, if they even know about it. That’s because most attorneys are looking for fast resolution to cases and won’t even consider taking on complicated malpractice suits. Those who will, even on contingency, require upwards of $25,000 upfront to cover the expenses of expert witnesses, admin fees, etc. Based upon my research, it is not unusual for the injured party to have to spend $80,000 in “expenses” fighting its case, and this must be paid by the person bringing the suit win or lose in advance of receiving any award.

    Still, I have a dream of raising the “expense” money somehow through cyber-begging, etc. just because I think a trial with multiple doctors trying to defend their actions would make an excellent teaching documentary. It would reveal what really needs to be corrected about health care — which no one is addressing. Just a dream. If I won the case, it might give doctors some urgency to devise better ways of diagnosing their patients or of what tests are considered standard fare.

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