Sunday, September 12, 2004

Another George Bush Lie: Doctors Spread the Love

For those missed Ralph Nader's recently posted question for Bush, here it is again:
Mr. President: you have based your demand on Congress to restrict the rights of wrongfully injured Americans to have their full day in court on two assertions:

1. Frivolous law suits
2. Good doctors leaving their practices because of these frivolous law suits
Please give us your evidence regarding the extent of frivolous lawsuits and the inability of state judges to dismiss them. Also, supply us with information about good physicians leaving practice due to frivolous lawsuits rather than gouging medical malpractice insurance premiums?

I would propose that Students For Nader has found an answer to Mr. Nader's question.
This report comes from yesterdays AP story:

President Bush misdiagnosed the reason Dr. Mike Ditmore abandoned his medical practice in Missouri.

"He's a doc. He's a neurosurgeon," Bush told cheering supporters in Columbia, Mo., while campaigning by bus last week. "He was, until his premiums went up to $108,000 a year. The lawsuits drove him out of business."

Not exactly. Ditmore has been sued — eight times in more than two decades, by his count, but seven lawsuits were dismissed before trial without financial settlements and the eighth ended with him found not liable after trial.

"I was not run out of business by lawsuits. I decided to retire because of the jump in my insurance premium, and there's not a direct correlation with lawsuits against me," Ditmore said after the president's visit.

Ditmore, 60, said malpractice insurance cost him about $60,000 last year and was set to nearly double even if he took on fewer cases as he looked toward retirement. He left medicine — and then decided to run for a seat in the Missouri Senate after a friend left the race unexpectedly.

When Bush campaigned in Missouri on Wednesday, he reiterated his criticism of "junk lawsuits" and declared to applause that "Dr. Ditmore is so upset about medical liability reform and other issues, he's running for the state Senate to do something about it."

Not exactly. Ditmore said he has other key issues, including stabilizing education funding, but said Bush put the local race's spotlight on medical malpractice.


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