When someone is severely or fatally harmed due to medical errors the first concern should always be about the patient and their families. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case as many hospitals immediately engage in the "deny and defend" model. This approach just makes the experience that much more difficult for the victims of medical errors to find out what happened. In fact, most patients never learn that they have been injured due to a medical error. This is corroborated by a recent study that found that 77 percent of 300 primary-care doctors admitted they would not fully disclose to a patient when there had been a delayed breast cancer diagnosis.
As if Hurricane Katrina was not already devastating enough, the insurance industry tried to make it worse. Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court unanimoulsy upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. Prior to the hurricane, State Farm sold federally-backed flood insurance policies to individuals and businesses throughout the area. However, after the hurricane, State Farm ordered its claims adjusters to classify what was actually wind damage as flood damage. In other words, State Farm's goal was to shift the cost to the federal government rather than pay out of its own reserves.
Throughout much of the 20th century, most doctors acted as general practitioners instead of specializing in a particular area of medicine. This was considered to be a holistic approach to medicine that allowed one doctor to manage a patient's care and see them through from start to finish. Of course, this still allowed for a general practitioner to consult with a specialist if a particular issue was outside his "box," but the general practitioner was still the primary doctor and managed the overall care of the patient. In the 1970s and '80s, however, there was a shift in the medical industry where recent medical school graduates chose to pursue specializations instead of going into "general" medicine.