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One thing that is always ignored is the emotional cost to medical
practitioners of litigation. It may well be an income generating game to
the legal profession but to medical practitioners it is a blow to self
esteem that hacks away at their confidence and may impair future
judgement. This study must be applauded and replicated to demonstrate the
real ongoing cost of the medical litigation industry. Hopefully then
treasury and others will see the cost benefit in no fault insurance -
though one can expect intense lobbying from the lawyers to protect a vital
I have not as yet been subject to litigation, but have been on the
receiving end of a legal campaign to block the introduction of personal
health records. I have seen several excellent medical practitioners and
colleagues damaged permanently by prolonged litigation, and over the past
40 years have witnessed the change induced in medical practice induced by
single legal precedents.
We now have senior medical academic recommending that medical
practitioners no longer examine women's breasts, or perform bimanual
examinations lest they be subject to litigation 10 years hence for
'missing' a malignancy. Surely a tragedy.