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Saturday, March 24th 2007

Juries Ain't Bright

It isn’t that they don’t know enough medicine to render determinations. How could you expect anything else? That isn’t the problem.

I don’t know enough about aeronautics, flight, airplane maintenance, or manufacturing to trust myself to render a verdict in say, a suit involving the crash of a commercial airplane. The point is, I know that. Even if the experts dumb it down I won’t learn enough in the trial to render a realistic verdict. I’m not deluded into believing my own qualification by having the trust of the wrecked civil judicial system placed in me.

Apparently many are. That is what makes them morons.

We have a multimillion dollar finding against a neurologist in Georgia (via Kevin MD via Overlawyered).

Please read on for this ridiculous outcome.

Puhalovich’s attorney, Mary Katherine Greene, said he was only in the operating room for about 10 minutes making sure a technician properly hooked up a monitor that tracks nerve impulses along the spinal chord through electrodes attached to Coleman’s head and feet.

The monitor sounded an alarm during the surgery, which Coleman’s lawyers say should have prompted his doctors to remove screws and rods installed during the operation. The doctors should also have performed a standard “wake-up test,” which involves cutting back anesthesia so the patient can be asked to wiggle his toes to indicate his nerves are undamaged, Coleman’s attorneys say.

The rods and screws were removed within six hours, but by that time, the damage was done, according to Coleman’s attorneys who say the devices were pressing against his spinal cord and should have been removed within minutes not hours.

This is his neurologist. Not his surgeon(s). Neurologist. Neurologist. Neurologist. Sarcasm: The neurologist always has so much to do with the actual fixation and so much responsibility for the patient in the operating room. This isn’t a very informative article obviously, but even if he saw him post-op there’s virtually no reasonable liability here it doesn’t seem like.

*sigh* None of this jury award is probably punitive, although the article is shallow there as well. The kid was young, they’re probably looking forward to years and years of productivity lost. Georgia does have a punitive cap, but clearly we’re seeing how those fail to provide justice in the system. And while stories about messed up cases will be had no matter the tort reforms, we need to be working to lessen such cases. There are far too many. We need health courts.