MALPRACTICE WATCH….Last month, in a review of Tom Baker’s The Medical Malpractice Myth, I mentioned briefly that patients sometimes file malpractice suits simply to obtain information about their own treatment. They do this because hospitals routinely refuse to disclose information about their quality of care unless they are taken to court.
Some readers wondered if this could really be true. Check this out:
Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago….Twelve days after giving birth at Orlando Regional South Seminole hospital, she was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where she became a quadruple amputee. Now she can not care for or hold her baby.
“Yeah, I want to pick him up. He wants me to pick him up. I can’t. I want to, but I can’t,” she said. “Woke up from surgery and I had no arms and no legs. No one told me anything. My arms and legs were just gone.”
….Her attorney, Judy Hyman wrote ORHS a letter saying, according to the Florida statute, “The Patients Right To Know About Adverse Medical Incidents Act,” the hospital must give her the records….The hospital’s lawyers wrote back, “Ms. Mejia’s request may require legal resolution.” In other words, according to their interpretation of the law, Mejia has to sue them to get information about herself.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the doctors at Orlando Regional Medical Center just hacked off Mejia’s arms and legs for no reason. She had contracted both a flesh eating bacteria and toxic shock syndrome, and amputation might very well have been the only option.
Still, if I woke up from surgery with no arms or legs, I’d want to know every last detail about what happened to me. Why should I have to file a lawsuit to get that?