Kill All the Lawyers

ABC News — Doctor Proposes Not Treating Some Lawyers

A doctor’s proposal asking the American Medical Association to endorse refusing care to attorneys involved in medical malpractice cases drew an angry response from colleagues Sunday at the annual meeting of the nation’s largest physicians group.

Many doctors stood up to denounce the resolution in passionate speeches even after its sponsor, Dr. J. Chris Hawk, asked that it be withdrawn.

Hawk, a South Carolina surgeon, said he made the proposal to draw attention to rising medical malpractice costs. The resolution asks that the AMA tell doctors that except in emergencies it is not unethical to refuse care to plaintiffs’ attorneys and their spouses.

“It expresses the frustration I have with a broken system,” said Hawk. He said doctors are leaving his state or retiring early because of insurance premiums making it harder for patients to receive care.

One presumes this was done tongue-in-cheek. This wasn’t:

USA Today — Medical-malpractice battle gets personal

There are 73,084 working lawyers in Texas. Selina Leewright never thought that being married to one would cost her her job.

But that’s why Leewright, a nurse, was fired last summer by Good Shepherd Medical Center in the East Texas city of Longview. In dismissing her, hospital officials praised her nursing skills as “fantastic.” But they told her that because her husband, Marty, worked at a law firm that does medical-malpractice litigation, the hospital could not continue to employ her. “I was dumbfounded,” Leewright says. “They just assumed that my husband does medical malpractice, which he doesn’t at all.”

Leewright’s firing was a measure of how toxic the battle over medical-malpractice lawsuits has become. Hospital administrators and doctors across the nation, furious over what they see as waves of frivolous lawsuits that have driven up malpractice insurance costs, are striking back against lawyers with hardball tactics that, in some cases, are raising ethical questions.

Some doctors are refusing medical treatment to lawyers, their families and their employees except in emergencies, and the doctors are urging the American Medical Association to endorse that view. Professional medical societies are trying to silence their peers by discouraging doctors from testifying as expert witnesses on behalf of plaintiffs. And a New Jersey doctor who supported malpractice legislation that his colleagues opposed was ousted from his hospital post.


(Hat tips: Memeorandum and Mike Alissi)

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    I think Dr. Hawk’s heart is in the right place (in a jar on the top shelf of his pantry), but the proposal would be slow in getting results.

  2. Gabe Posey says:

    Eventually someone will have to build a security fence around the Mayo Clinic.


  3. Randall says:

    Looks like the docs will have to go with plan B.
    Subject all lawyers to every possible medical test in existance regardless of what their current complaints are. Maybe a barrage of colon probes will get their attention.

  4. Attila Girl says:

    On one level it’s funny, but on another it isn’t: the outrageous costs are passed along to the rest of us in the form of higher insurance premiums (and a higher likelihood of being refused coverage at all). Something really has to be done.

  5. JW says:

    Here’s an even cuter example of what’s coming–
    a woman was denied plastic surgery treatment because her father was a state legislator on the wrong side of a recent tort reform vote. June 11 2004

  6. Lee says:

    I’m happy to see some stories about how lawyers are destroying the U.S. on this website. Unfortunately, in the U.S. it’s all about “me” (thank you Ayn Rand, you stupid Russian bitch!). It’s all about the “free market” which means companies grow until they can crush all their competition and pay their workers beans. It’s all about stepping on the other person’s throat. So the jungle capitalism of the U.S. will continue until 1% own 99% of the wealth, at which point the revolution will make previous revolutions look like child’s play.