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A Patient Dies And then The Anguish Of Litigation

In an article in today's New York Times, Dr. Joan Savitsky writes about her personal ordeal in being named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. I thought the article was excellent because it attempts to examine the emotional issues that arise out of the personal lawsuit context. Although the article mostly discusses the emotional toll the lawsuit may have on a defendant, take it from me, the same type of soul searching happens on the plaintiff's side. Dr. Savitsky briefly mentions in her article that the plaintiffs, the children of the doctor's patient who passed away from cancer, must have felt anger when their mother died. The doctor asserts that this anger may have been innapropriately directed to the doctor. Now, I am not aware of this case, so I do not know if that is true. However, I have represented clients who were injured by real, undeniable medical malpractice. In those cases, just like Dr. Savitsky felt likely she was unjustly accussed, the plaintiffs who I represented feel the same way when the doctors and insurance companies repeatedly claim that my clients were "fine", that they were lieing, malingering and just out to get money. These plaintiff's of mine felt the same way as Dr. Savitsky when they both questioned the value of our legal system. In any event, whether you are a plaintiff, wrongly injured, or a doctor wrongly accused, the truth of the matter is that neither party is ever ready to deal with the emotional rollercoasters that this lawsuits create. I am glad that Dr. Savitsky had the honesty and courage to give us a sense of what it is like.

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