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Urban Communities Lose When Trial Lawyers Win

(Released April 2006)

When trial lawyers win excessive monetary awards in lawsuits against doctors and health care facilities, urban communities lose.

The number of medical malpractice lawsuits has climbed steadily over the years, contributing to skyrocketing medical liability insurance premiums for doctors and medical health care facilities and massive payouts. These costs are passed on to patients through higher medical costs and less – or no – services.

Some doctors and medical facilities are being forced to adjust to increasing litigation risks, and it’s not good for patients. Doctors are moving to other states and neighborhoods or closing their doors for good to limit their exposure to litigation.

Because of the lack of legal reform in the health care arena, higher insurance premiums and disappearing services are the unfortunate consequences facing urban communities.

For example, The Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy estimates that physicians will lose approximately one-third of the malpractice suits brought against them. In an effort to limit liability, some doctors are actively working to protect their assets and reputations against malpractice suits. One strategy to shield themselves is for doctors to provide patients with unnecessary medical referrals to specialists. This extremely expensive path not only adds to a patient’s bill (and the cost to their insurer) but also makes things time-consuming for the patient and professionals who could be seeing others who legitimately and urgently require their care.

Another course is for specialists to alter their practices so they incur less risk. Obstetrics, neurology and orthopedics are known as high-risk medical specialties, and they are being targeted by trial lawyers.

Because of the increased risk of a malpractice lawsuit related to childbirth-related complications, many obstetricians now refuse to deliver newborns. With an average annual insurance premium of $130,000, many obstetricians who previously devoted their lives to delivering babies now only provide gynecological services.

Another target in the trial lawyers’ crosshairs are medical care facilities that provide quality care to urban communities. It could lead to these facilities disappearing from areas where demand for care is vital.

According to the Center for Legal Policy, hospitals and medical care facilities are estimated to lose about half of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed against them, with the average monetary award against them in excess of six million dollars. The closure of facilities due to increased insurance premiums and legal payouts create problems in emergency situations. It threatens to diminish the quality of life in at-risk neighborhoods because emergency medical care must be obtained from locations that are further away and perhaps not as accessible.

Trial lawyers seek to portray themselves as heroes of the common man, and many accept this puffed-up image at face value. In reality, however, it seems more trial lawyers are motivated by personal greed. The lack of legal reform in the health care arena provides fertile grounds for abuse.

Public misunderstanding is exacerbated by the lack of critical reporting by the media and the constant barrage of advertising by law firms seeking “justice” for would-be plaintiffs. Meanwhile, urban communities pay the price with dwindling access to doctors and medical facilities.

While the going is good, trial lawyers will continue to prey upon the unsuspecting individuals and communities to line their pockets with millions of dollars.

Legal reform is a national issue affecting everyone. But the problems related to lawsuit abuse are magnified in urban communities because these areas are likely to be left with limited alternatives for quality medical care. Without medical-related legal reform, the losses suffered by urban communities will continue to be a matter of life and death.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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