Regarding your Aug. 22 and Sept. 3 items: It used to be that midwives and nurses in general weren't sued for malpractice. Why? Because they had no money to go after. It certainly wasn't because they used to be perfect and now make a lot of mistakes.
Now I'm hearing that lawyers are attaching additional medical personnel to a plaintiff's case (like catching dolphins in tuna nets?) in order to extort a smallish settlement early in the process that allows funding for going after the "big fish". It's a hard sell to keep a defendant that shouldn't be even in the crosshairs to stay in and face ruinous costs of a trial when they could get out for $10,000 or so. Unless the system is changed, the only response is to fight to the bitter end in every case or to have no easy money to go after. Unlike doctors who are forced to carry malpractice insurance in order to be on a hospital staff, nurse midwives working out of an independent facility should protect their assets, drop their liability insurance, and tell prospective patients that they have none. There are plenty of people who would still use their services.
Interestingly, right in the middle of the New York Post story of August 12 about the midwives' disappearance, there is a paid advertising box with links to three personal injury law firms. We need look no further for the cause of the crisis.
Scott L. Replogle M.D., Louisville, Colo.Posted by Walter Olson at September 18, 2003 10:47 AM