Do you know how lawyers like John Edwards choose their malpractice cases? It goes something like this: A patient thinks that he has been harmed or was given substandard care. He writes a letter to a malpractice attorney stating the case.
The attorney decides whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue the case. Worthwhile = amount of money that can possibly be won.
Malpractice attorneys claim that their actions PROTECT patients.
Yet those attorneys decide, almost universally, which cases merit attention based on the possible monetary awards that can be garned, regardless of the merits of the case or whether or not there is actual malpractice involved. Truth is, the biggest awards are doled out in cases that are neither black nor white (so jurors will not be swayed by facts but by emotional appeals such as "channeling" fetuses); or, in cases where the emotional appeal of the defendent is such that it will outweigh the facts.
Unless true medical malpractice fortuitously intersects with the attorney's assessment of the possible $$ rewards of the case, this "system" of patient protection never gets involved in the case.
This "system" is neither efficient at uncovering malpractice, nor does it provide consistent, proven methods of remediation other than cash payments to the defendent and lawyer.
Worse, the manifold ways this ineffective "patient protection system" increases health care costs are intolerable in a time when citizens are getting ready to hand over health care to government rather than foot the bill themselves.
Liability lawyers have been effective in preserving their cash cow partly by tendentious statistics and studies that pretend to prove that their services don't actually raise health care costs.
Well, now, experience is proving them wrong. Texas is showing conclusively that caps on noneconomic damages work.
A process whose purpose is to protect patients and weed out bad medical practice cannot have, as it's major selection crterion, how much money a lawyer can extort from an insurance company or wheedle from a jury.
We can only hope that history will eventually show that this cow was slaughtered in Texas.