September 14th, 2009
10:21 AM ET

Morning Buzz: How to deal with medical malpractice?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/14/mtv.music.video.awards/art.kanye.swift.gi.jpg caption="Kanye West takes the microphone from Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Doctors make mistakes. It happens. But what should be done about it? Many on one side of the issue say taking doctors to court is really the only way of keeping them honest, diligent and thorough. But people on the other side say that’s what has caused doctors to practice so-called defensive medicine – which many argue leads to higher prices for everyone.

Medical malpractice has also come up in President’s Obama plan to reform the health care system. Gary Tuchman sits down with some lawyers who have spent decades working on medical malpractice suits. We’ll separate fact from fiction and cut through the noise over medical malpractice all week.

What a year! President Obama is in New York City today marking the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The firm actually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 15, but Obama will deliver what the White House is billing as a major speech on the financial crisis. He is expected to make a strong case for immediate action on regulatory reform as well as discuss the steps that the Administration has taken to boost the economy. Ali Velshi will take stock of the financial upheaval we’ve all experienced over the past year and give us the break down of where we stand now, and what we may expect in the near future.

Political protests have always been embedded in our nation’s history; they’re a natural part of our democratic process. But have the current anti-Obama protests taken on an increasingly harsh tone? Over the weekend, the conservative advocacy group Tea Party Express massed on the National Mall to protest health care reform, higher taxes and government spending. At some protests around the country, Nazi imagery and a picture of President Obama as an African witch doctor were popular images. Are there racial undertones to some of these protests? And will this anti-Obama strategy help Republicans? Do some of the extreme comments and images obscure a more legitimate argument made by the majority? Candy Crowley will look into the protests tonight.

And it’s been quite a week of outbursts, hasn’t it? It all started last Wednesday night during President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress. Rep. Joe Wilson shocked many shouting, “you lie” during Obama’s speech. His “emotional” response garnered a lot of attention – not to mention a lot of money. (His democratic opponent raised more than $1 million in a few days, and Wilson himself raised approximately $750,000.)

But that was just the beginning of a series of national outbursts. Serena Williams’ profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a U.S. Open linesperson resulted in a $10,000 fine. And last night, Kanye West rushed onstage during the VMAs, grabbed Taylor Swift’s microphone during her acceptance speech and started espousing on behalf of Beyonce Knowles, who had lost out in the category. What’s up with these people going overboard?

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    The BBC is estimating the size of the protest crowd at 1-2 million. Why has CNN given this so little coverage? Need we go to offshore news sources to find out what's happening in our own country. The backlash against Obama's liberal policies is real, is growing, and is becoming more mainstream.

    September 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  2. Mike

    It seems logical that medical malpractice suits drive up the cost of medicine, especially in high risk specialties such as obstetrics. Nevertheless, there has been tort reform in several large states already and from what I've read, there hasn't been a significant reduction in medical costs in those states.

    There are, no doubt, too many malpractice suits that are filed that have little or no merit, yet are still settled because it is cheaper than proceeding with litigation. It would be good if these types of suits could be reduced or eliminated.

    In case of gross negligence, however, a person who has sustained serious injury ought to have recourse in the courts and damages must be sufficient to compensate for their loss. If medical malpractice leads to a lifelong disability, a fair award may need to be substantial in order to care for a person for the rest of their life, especially if they are no longer able to work, provide for their family, or enjoy life.

    September 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Conserve' for USA


    I guess you haven't been to a tea party. You would know it's just not republicans there. Take your blinders off and see what the government is doing. Tort reform would take care of a lot of these problems, but guess what? The government doesn't want to help unless they have more control of the U.S. citizens.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  4. benni

    I think all these right wing republicans have taken some of these protests to far! Hello healthcare is broken! Wake up, we need to help our fellow americans and stop these evil healthcare companys!

    September 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  5. A. McClary

    I worry more about hospital care and insurance company's then I do doctors! Especially since HMO's, Insurance company's practice medicine and should be held under malpractice laws, and not be able to hold clients to so called arbitration.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  6. Barbara

    Stage rage... Kanye needs to have his "the world is about me," bubble popped. However, the result of this was that we got to see not only how very talented Beyonce Knowles and Taylor Swift are (things we already knew.. and were already being aknowledged), but we caught a glimpse at how truly classy these women are too. As for Kanye's behaviour.... there are no words that are nice for that.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Good Morning Eliza

    How can you trust any one with your care if they make mistakes like this .I was at the doctor and she wrote out a prescription for a penicilin in the same family of a drugs that i was allergic too .The pharmists was the one who caught it and alerted me to the side effects that could happen and cause allergic reactions .The pharmasist called my doctor to make the change it prescription. It cost more than the original one but i wasn't about to risk the reaction . They should be held accountable for thier actions they are treating you and it' not right .

    Thanks for the buzz

    Michelle D.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  8. Conserve' for USA

    Tort reform would take care of this problem. However, the President is in the pocket of the lawyers and will not put limits on these law suits.
    Serena Williams and Kanye West outbursts, does it really surprise you? It fits right along with czar Jones speeches.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  9. ewopper

    The bottom line is the high premium of malpractice insurance. So in my opinion it comes back to the insurance companies and their profitability. If having to be in a PCP in order to stay in an insurance plan isn't Socialized Medicine someone tell me what is. Also the Doctors that won't work with the option program to me aren't in it for the health of the people, but the health of their pocketbooks

    September 14, 2009 at 10:33 am |