Political debates are often dirty. It is no surprise that most community members have a difficult time obtaining fair, honest, and impartial information about hot-button political issues. Advocates on all sides frequently engage in deception tactics to confuse and mislead those whom they are trying to convince. In advocating for patient rights and against tort “reform” efforts each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm works hard to be very clear about the claims we are making and the evidence found to support those claims. At the end of the day, we are consistent advocates for patient safety, understanding that fair access to the judicial system for those harmed by mistreatment must be guarded against.
Recently the Pop Tort blog from the Center for Justice and Democracy explained how many advocating for tort reform misleadingly use labels and claims about “patient safety” in their efforts. Particularly misleading is that doctors and other medical professionals who have much to personally gain from these “reform” efforts seem to lend a credible voice to claims.
For example, our medical malpractice attorneys were not surprised to learn that one group which engages in aggressive efforts to vote out of office any legislator who rejects tort reform efforts bills itself the “Center to Protect Patient Rights.” Of course, it is virtually impossible for any logical observer to argue that decimating the legal rights of patients hurt by medical errors has any connection to “patient safety.” But very few will ever learn about the reality of these organizations. One LA Times Investigation into that particular group found that it was “really nothing more than a PR operation with a post office box ‘on a desert road on the northern outskirts of Phoenix.'”
The Next Target
The blog post argues that the coming months are an important one when it comes to sharing honest information about these front groups. Organizations like the “Center to Protect Patient Rights” will delve into national elections, further misleading community members about the goals (and consequences) of the group’s advocacy efforts.
President Obama will likely be the next target. The deep-pocketed donors seeking to make it impossible for Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed have apparently already begun airing ads against the President because of their belief that patient legal rights will be better protected under the President.
Whatever your perspective on the presidential election, we all should be united in efforts by mysterious donors who seek to mislead the public about medical malpractice laws.
It is sad that transparency in the political process and advocacy efforts remain an elusive goal. Those seeking to pass laws that take away legal rights should be quite clear when explaining what they are arguing and what they think the effect will be. They should provide evidence seeking to show that the desired effect will occur as a result of their proposed changes. In that way, community members could fairly assess whether those claims have merit and make voting decisions logically. Instead, however, we will likely to continue to see shady, misguided claims by anonymous groups which do nothing but confuse voters about what they are supporting and what it means in their own lives.
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