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Carpenter Wrong Again About Lawyers And Medical Malpractice

I have heard many accusations from Paul Carpenter over the years but now he has gone too far. He has now indicted personal injury lawyers for premeditated first-degree murder. Yes, we are apparently responsible for patients receiving massive overdoses of radiation because doctors are so fearful of a medical malpractice claim that they send their patients for unnecessary x-rays and scans which will inevitably lead to their deaths from radiation cancer. During the last month we have seen firsthand what unregulated big corporate entities like BP can do. I have heard snippets and quotations from every president alive and dead about our dependence on foreign oil. I have even heard the words of our former president Ronald Reagan promising us energy independence. His words came to mind this morning as I read Paul's column titled: "Radiation risk blamed on lawyers". Those words? - "There he goes again". Paul's source of information in support of his outrageous conclusion is contained in an article written by AP Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione on Medical radiation treatment. The article discusses the totality of radiation that Americans receive from airport scanners to cell phones to medical radiation-type testing like x-rays and scans. The article was very informative detailing the sometimes overuse of these tests, some of which use a higher or lower doses of radiation. An example is quoted where a young girl had received 14 high-radiation tests by her doctors looking for kidney stones until one of her doctors discovered the high number of tests. The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to post warnings and information on these machines concerning the amount of radiation they emit. There is also consideration on requiring doctors to keep track of the amount of testing and that it becomes a part a patents chart. All good stuff. Of course, in his typical fashion when it comes to lawyer bashing, Paul Carpenter ignored the thrust of the article to seize an opportunity to blame cancer on lawyers and call us criminals. The article goes on to list 10 theories for why radiation testing is overused. She lists reasons such as "ease of use and accuracy". She states that tests "have become a crutch for doctors afraid of using exams and judgment". ER docs are often faced with making life and death decisions and the fastest way to make a determination is with a CAT scan. She cites patient pressure placed on doctors to "figure out what's wrong". Even insurance companies can require tests in certain diagnoses. I could go on but Paul chose one isolated sentence from the entire article upon which to base his murder charges. A one-line reference that states that malpractice fear of a missed heart attack or burst appendix could cause the use of such a test. That's it - one small line taken out of context from a very informative piece. If any blame is to be placed, I suggest that the author is placing it on the medical community. I don't know about you, but if there is a question that my appendix may be burst or I am having a heart attack then - please let this serve as notice - I WANT THE TEST.  Finally, I must address the continued misinformation regarding medical malpractice lawsuits and the never-ending spew that these suites are frivolous and that lawyers take most of the money. The statistics just do not bear this out. Medical malpractice suits are down as much as 40% to 50% across the state and the cost of bringing these suits to trial is so expensive that lawyers simply cannot afford to involve themselves in such unmeritorious cases. If Paul took the time to read the facts he would know this. I have written to him and e-mailed him suggesting that we should sit down and talk and listen to the lawyer's side, but he has never responded. Why would he? He then might have to reevaluate his cockamamie theories and print the facts. Hey, we all know that would not make good copy and he is not a journalist - just an opinionated columnist. Dennis F. Feeley

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