Welcome to our June email Update.
Dr. Tobin Recognized
At the annual meeting of the Cosmetic Surgical Society of Texas, Dr. Tobin was recognized for his past service to the organization, having recently completed his second term as President of the Society. The Association recently met in Fredericksberg for a combined business and education meeting. Dr. Tobin was elected to continue serving on the Board of Governors.
Professional Liability Reform
It is not our purpose to use this Newsletter for political purposes but we must recognize and applaud Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature for passage of Tort Reform Bills in both the House and the Senate. Reform is badly needed. Patients are suffering in Texas because of the liability crisis. Half of Texas Physicians are forced to reduce services or shun high-risk cases. Fear of lawsuits is creating havoc in emergency rooms where doctors are either afraid to treat patients or forced to order unnecessary tests simply to avoid potential suits. In spite of the fact that over 80% of claims are dismissed as meritless or withdrawn, the cost of defense for such cases can easily exceed $50,000. Juries have become totally unrealistic in their awards with the average jury award in health care liability cases at $3.5 million and with the fastest growing component being for noneconomic damages. All of this has resulted in premiums for doctors increasing by 200% in the last three years.
Who pays for all of this? We all do. Patients of course must ultimately bear the economic burden through increased fees, but physicians also suffer through economic and emotional loss. Doctors cannot do their best for their patients with the constant fear of lawsuits hanging over their heads. We all know that medicine is not an exact science and fully realize that mistakes can occur. Patients deserve compensation if the mistake is the result of negligence but that compensation must be fair and the physician must have protection from unjustified suits.
The current legislation will help. Texans must understand this since 91% feel that medical liability insurance is a problem. 85% of Texas voters feel that lawyers’ contingency fees are unfair and 69% of Texas voters support a constitutional amendment to allow a cap on noneconomic damages.
The Extreme Makeover – commentary
I’m not much of a TV watcher, and so, I must confess, I have not yet seen this show. But I certainly have heard about it! From what I’ve heard, there are some fantastic changes shown on the TV show. What concerns me is this. First of all, we all know that not every patient will achieve such dramatic effects and demonstrated on the show, but no matter what we try to tell our patients, they still seem to remember that patient of TV and somehow expect a similar result. Forget the fact that professional make up and hair styling has enhanced the result of surgery.
A larger concern is the apparent emphasis on carrying out multiple procedures at one time. To an extent, this is of value since it is more economical to combine procedures. However, it is also important to understand that, after a point, adding additional procedures can add risk out of proportion to benefit. This is something that you need to thoroughly discuss with your Cosmetic Surgeon before finalizing a treatment plan.
Ixtapa Cosmetic Surgery Conference
Gail & I recently returned from a lovely long weekend at the MeliaAzul Ixtapa Beach Resort and Conference Center where I was an invited guest speaker at an international cosmetic surgery conference. While my primary topics were on body lifting procedures including tummy tuck, breast lift and breast reduction, an additional talk on the use of injectiable microdroplet silicone for lip augmentation and tissue filling also was a source of great interest to the audience. Over 120 doctors from Mexico, South America and Europe attended the meeting.
That’s it for this month. As always, we appreciate your feed back.
Howard A. Tobin, M.D., F. A. C. S.