WhiteCoat

Joanne Doroshow At It Again

Why does the Huffington Post allow Joanne Doroshow to keep posting misinformation?

For those of you who didn’t know, Ms. Doroshow is an attorney who is the executive director for New York Law School’s Center for Justice and Democracy.

Attorney Doroshow’s latest blog post on HuffPo alleges that medical malpractice caps are an “attack on women” and therefore any Republican who votes for medical malpractice caps is risks alienating himself (or herself) from half of all the voters in the United States.

Yeah.

Half of Attorney Doroshow’s post cites opinions from others that the Republican party is engaging in “mass misogyny.”

When she finally tries to justify her kindergarten logic, Attorney Doroshow quotes University of Buffalo law professor Lucinda Finley, stating that

“[C]ertain injuries that happen primarily to women are compensated predominantly or almost exclusively through non-economic loss damages. These injuries include sexual or reproductive harm, pregnancy loss, and sexual assault injuries.”

Let’s look at the legal arguments that Attorney Doroshow has adopted.

Sexual or reproductive harm happens primarily to women.
Is Attorney Doroshow attempting to argue that there are so many fewer lawsuits relating to testicular/prostate cancer, male urologic injuries, testicular torsion, and hernia-related injuries such that malpractice caps would be de facto misogynistic? I notice a deafening lack of statistics to support her assertions. Professor Finley’s article didn’t address the issue, either, but Professor Finley’s article wasn’t limited to medical malpractice caps — it discussed general caps on noneconomic damages.

Pregnancy loss happens primarily to women.
True. Women are the ones who get pregnant. But is Attorney Doroshow attempting to argue that only one parent is allowed to file a lawsuit on behalf of the child when there is a pregnancy-related loss? As an attorney, what is her legal basis for such a claim? How are malpractice caps on a “pregnancy loss” lawsuit discriminatory toward women?

Sexual assault injuries happen primarily to women and are compensated predominantly or almost exclusively through non-economic loss damages.
I agree that sexual assault injuries primarily happen to women. However, sexual assault injuries have little to do with medical malpractice caps. Sexual assault is a criminal issue. Often, victims of crimes receive compensation from a Crime Victims Compensation Fund. Caps on medical malpractice have nothing to do with sexual assault injuries – unless the physician is the one assaulting the patient. And even if a physician did sexually assault a patient, the litigation wouldn’t be a “medical malpractice” issue subject to malpractice caps, it would be a civil tort issue where malpractice caps do not apply.

As further justification for how noneconomic medical malpractice damage caps are discriminatory toward women, Ms. Doroshow again cites Professor Finley, stating

“[J]uries consistently award women more in noneconomic loss damages than men … [A]ny cap on noneconomic loss damages will deprive women of a much greater proportion and amount of a jury award than men.”

There is no comment from Attorney Doroshow on why it is acceptable for juries to discriminate against men in awarding noneconomic damages. However, if legislatures take some action that would potentially neutralize the “discrimination,” Attorney Dorshow alleges the action would constitutes a sleight so severe to the female gender as to amount to instant political suicide. That is simple pig pen effluent.

I agree that $250,000 caps on noneconomic damages are not fair to patients. I also think that we need to find some middle ground where patients can be fairly compensated for their injuries but where medical providers are not subject to bankruptcy from “super losses“.

Joanne Doroshow’s attempts to scare people into opposing H.R. 5 through a campaign of misinformation is wholly inappropriate. Based on her writings, I can only come to one conclusion:

Attorney Joanne Doroshow’s writings demonstrate misandry more than medical malpractice caps demonstrate misogyny.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

9 Responses to “Joanne Doroshow At It Again”

  1. Matt says:

    Discriminate against men in noneconomic awards? Huh?

    She’s a lobbyist and PR person here. Just like those you parrot. Fair and balanced isn’t her or your bag. You shouldn’t be surprised.

    Your “super losses” aren’t paid by medical providers and the majority of the dollars in your link had nothing to do with malpractice. You know that, but it’s just an example of you doing exactly what you’re so incensed at her doing. I know, you’re shocked to find gambling in this establishment!

  2. Matt says:

    WC, are you for or against this bill she’s opposed to? Do you believe it’s the role of the Feds to be involved in state tort actions?

    • WhiteCoat says:

      I think that the feds need to butt out of a lot of state issues, but unfortunately that’s not the way government works in this country.
      Overall, the bill has good points and bad points. Periodic payments, doing away with joint and several liability, limiting contingency fees, and disclosing collateral source payments are good things. Hard caps of $250,000 are not.
      In principle, though, I don’t think it is within the province of the government to regulate what is largely a state action. On that basis alone, I’d oppose the bill.

      Your other assertion that malpractice losses aren’t paid by providers is akin to asserting that patients don’t pay for increased medical costs. Insurance companies may pay for both insurance payouts and for medical treatment, but ultimately much of the money the insurance company uses comes from those who are insured.
      And I agree with you that nursing home negligence cases aren’t medical malpractice, but if you look at the multimillion dollar judgments I post every week in the Healthcare Update (and those are only a small portion of total cases), you’d realize that judgments above the typical $1 million limits in an insurance policy are not so uncommon anymore.

      • Matt says:

        So the overall principles of federalism aren’t an issue for you? If you believe there should be limits on what the plaintiffs can privately pay their attorneys, do you also support a federal cap on what defendants can pay their counsel?

        When does government involvement in private business end?

        You implied those “super judgments” would bankrupt providers. You know that’s misleading for a number of reasons. Not least of which is that the provider doesn’t pay them. And also that the judgment awarded doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s paid. You were being imprecise to make a political point. Which is just what you criticized Ms Doroshow for doing.

        Insurance money in part comes from premiums. But it also comes from, primarily from, investment income. You know this. But again you’re being imprecise for political purposes. The pot is indeed black.

      • Matt says:

        You say judgments over a million aren’t so uncommon anymore? What does that mean? How common are they compared to say, 5 years ago? Anecdotes do not equal evidence, WC, which you as a scientist should know better than most.

        Given the rate of increase in the cost of care I have no doubt judgments are going up because much of that money goes back into the medical system or health insurance industry to pay for past and future care or subrogation. But you’ve given us no hard data regarding the number of million dollar malpractice judgments, or more importantly payouts.

      • Matt says:

        My mistake. Missed your last line. Glad we agree that we need less government not more.

  3. doc99 says:

    Matt, I find your participation in this forum constructive. To understand HR5, you need to know the history of Dr. Phil Gingrey – ObGyn. For Joanne Doroshow, it similarly seems personal as well.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the Gingrey info. Always sad to see a Republican backing greater federal intrusion in state and local matters. Particularly a physician, who should be well acquainted with the perils of injecting more government into private business.

      • Dr. Theo says:

        Matt, you stated that “Insurance money in part comes from premiums. But it also comes from, primarily from, investment income.”

        That makes no sense. If they can make all that money in investments why put it at risk by selling insurance that then draws from that pot?

        Why is it that insurance premiums are directly related to the pay-outs in a given state? Since most of the money comes from “investments,” why should premiums be so closely tied to losses? When I moved from Illinois to Indiana my insurance premium dropped by over 60% because of different tort laws and regulations.

        What you are asserting would be like Microsoft getting into the malpractice insurance business and using its computer-related profits to pay claims. Why would they do that?

Leave a Reply


five × 7 =

Popular Authors

  • Greg Henry
  • Rick Bukata
  • Mark Plaster
  • Kevin Klauer
  • Jesse Pines
  • David Newman
  • Rich Levitan
  • Ghazala Sharieff
  • Nicholas Genes
  • Jeannette Wolfe
  • William Sullivan
  • Michael Silverman

Earn CME Credit