Saturday, February 23, 2008


I was just told by one of my best friends who is an attorney (hard to beleive isn't it!) what the main difference is between the professions of medicine and law is. In medicine we are trained to be accountable for everything. In fact we hold ourselves responsible and are held responsible for things that are beyond our control. Attorneys on the other hand strive to be accountable for nothing and hold everyone else accountable. He explained it this way, "In what I do, I advise people what I think but then make sure the real decision and accountability is theirs. In fact, in big things were we go to court we pass the buck farther and make the jury of the judge accountable. We also make sure that it is very hard to be sued for malpractice .When things don't go well it was the clients choice. We even limit our accountability further by forcing the client sign arbitration agreements. In medicine you are the responsible party. If anything goes wrong it is your fault. If the patient makes a bad choice, you are responsible because they can come back and claim that you did not give them enough information. If the cancer evades the surgery and chemo/rads it is because of you not the disease."

He then said, "If I lose a case it is because it was a bad case or the decision of the client, judge or jury. If you lose a case, the perception is that there was something else that you should have done, or that you did wrong."

"Another way to look at it is this. If you ask an attorney to watch you house while you are away, he will have you sign a detailed document that spells out exactly what is meant by watching the house in such a way that if something happens he is not held resposibile. The doctor wont ask what is meant, assume that he is responsible for everything, move the house to where everything can be watched by a team that is also held accountable, and ensure that it has every monitoring device possible to the limits that can be paid for."

The moral of the advice, in Law, it is always someone else's fault and they should pay. Moreover, the attorney is just a consultant and tries everything he can to make sure he is not accountable. In medicine, the physician is accountable for everything, society and attorneys strive to make sure this is the case. Who do you want to watch your house.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

The police? Kidding! Out of the two choices...the doctor.

Actually...our bodies do house our spirits and we are supposed to take care of them. So you do watch over our houses. :) Thank God for you docs that help us to stay healthy or facilitate healing in us when we have been remiss in doing the best for ourselves, etc.

I LOVED this post Throckmorton!

I am going to link this post to my sight tomorrow as I know others will appreciate it too. :)