Fight Club: Doctors vs. Lawyers- - A Peace Plan Grounded in Self Interest
61 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2010 Last revised: 18 Jun 2011
Date Written: March 10, 2010
Doctors and lawyers have been at odds since the first medical malpractice “crisis” occurred in the mid-nineteenth century. Their modern fight plays out publicly in a variety of forums, principally the national tort reform movement. Like professional wrestlers, the fighters sometimes resort to dirty tactics. It is an unseemly, embarrassing spectacle for what traditionally have been considered the two most prestigious professions. Given the importance of the healthcare and legal systems they serve, the doctor-lawyer conflict has implications for all Americans. Previous calls for doctors and lawyers to improve their relationship have been met with scorn. This article takes a different tack in calling for improved relations: an appeal to self-interest. It argues that doctors and lawyers have shared tangible and intangible interests in reducing their conflict and improving communication. The article also sets forth several steps toward accomplishing those goals, including the need for each side to acknowledge certain core, uncomfortable truths about our medical liability system. It begins with a brief history of the doctor-lawyer fight and an explanation of why the two groups dislike each other so much. Throughout, doctors and lawyers are compared on a variety of measuring scales such as total numbers, educational debt load, income, public approval ratings, jokes concerning, job satisfaction, political leanings, substance abuse, and suicide rates.
Keywords: doctors, lawyers, medical malpractice, tort reform, healthcare reform
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