The Jury Talks Back


Doctor Screws Up, Patient Loses Legs, Doctor Immune to Suit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 10:47 pm

As I was saying below, the government is different.  Scott Jacobs points out that one of those differences is government can prevent itself from being sued, even for the willful and even criminal actions of its employees and agents.

Case in point:

Last month a military doctor was supposed to take out Colton Read’s gallbladder through laproscopic surgery.  Instead, the doctor nicked Airman Read’s aorta, causing internal bleeding.  The doctor stopped the surgery, but apparently did not notify anyone of the error until some time later.  It wasn’t until 8 hours later that Read’s aorta was repaired, but by that time the damage had been done.  His legs, deprived of normal bloodflow for 8 hours were dead and had to be amplutated.

The doctor and the government are immune to any suit:

Colton Read’s family is finding limited abilities to react to the Airman’s situation. In a case of alleged malpractice, most would pursue a lawsuit against offending parties. However, a law enacted in the 1950s known as the “Feres Doctrine” prohibits service members, spouses and family members from bringing a suit against the United States Government following medical mishaps.

And they still haven’t taken out the gallbladder.

UPDATE (8/16 12:19pm):  More complete information at ABC News:

Instead of immediately calling in a vascular surgeon to repair the damage to the artery that carried blood from the heart, doctors at the air base waited 8 1/2 hours before taking him to the UC Davis hospital.


[T]he U.S. surgeon general is investigating what happened to Read.

Notes from the Health Care Wars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 6:14 pm

In no particular order:

A straw poll at the progressive Netroots conference where Clinton spoke showed a majority of attendees—53 percent—said they cannot support a health care reform bill that does not include a public option….

“I’m not for putting all our eggs in one basket but you’re asking me to say will I give that egg up,” said USAction’s Jeff Blum of the public plan. “Nobody has convinced me that giving that egg up is a good idea. I think it’s one of the most important eggs from which we’ll grow a better system.”


Indeed, the whole notion of a public plan makes some moderate Democrats so nervous that they won’t even talk about it. Asked whether he supports the public option, Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb said, “Depending on what else is in, yeah I do at the moment. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Daily Mail (UK)

[Tory Euro MP Daniel] Hannan, speaking on Fox News in the US, had said: ‘I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system.’

Mr Hannan, who has long campaigned for the NHS to be dismantled and replaced with a system of ‘personal health accounts’ once described the service as a ’60-year mistake’.

Earlier in the week he used a speech in Washington to claim that the service was a ‘Marxist system’ and warned Americans to ‘ponder our example and tremble’.

David Cameron, leader of the Tories, all but disowned Mr Hannan, saying ‘No one should be in any doubt, for the Conservative Party, the NHS is our number one priority.’

Fox News (on Obama in Colorado)

“I don’t want government bureaucrats meddling in our health care — but the point is I don’t want insurance companies’ bureaucrats meddling in our health care either,” Obama declared, unleashing a cheer from the audience.


President Obama criticized what he termed as the “scare tactics” of opponents to health care reform.

CNN heard this at the same session:

Insurance companies no longer will be able to place caps on benefits or charge out-of-pocket expenses on top of premiums, Obama told the cheering crowd.

So the last vestiges of the “insurance” idea disappear and we have nothing left but pre-paid medical.  Paid by someone else, of course.   I am again amazed.  The shallowness of Barack Obama continues to amaze.  I know long-term potheads with more understanding and depth.

Government is DIFFERENT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 11:24 am

Throughout the healthcare debate (and over the years on other issues) we hear the refrain “but we’re just replacing an industry bureaucrat with a government bureaucrat”.  This is true except that it isn’t really truth.

Government is DIFFERENT.

If I owe a billion dollars to General Motors or AIG or Bill Gates himself, they cannot (legally) send some armed men to my house in the middle of the night and drag me away to some dungeon and hold me until I settle up.  Government can and often does just this, sometimes for very trivial reasons (parking tickets, overdue library books, etc).

Government is force.   It has a monopoly on force.  While there are some very good reasons for that monopoly, everything that government does has behind it at least the implied threat of men with guns.  Try not paying income tax and you’ll see what I mean.

So, a government bureaucrat is much different than an industry bureaucrat.   More different still if there is no private alternative.  Consider the local school system without private schools.  Or package delivery with only the post office.  Or transportation with only city buses.  Or medicine with only government doctors.

Which is what the people who talk about “just replacing one bureaucrat for another” really want.  Medicine at the point of a gun.

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