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A Settlement Story

I recently finished up a pharmaceutical settlement with a group of women. Our claim related to cancer from hormone therapy.  Most of the time, I don’t discuss settlements or their amounts because I consider it a private matter for my clients. Sometimes, a letter or story comes along that makes me want to share.

I recently received a letter that specifically mentioned that it would be ok if I shared a bit of her story. I have intentionally left out the specific names and places.  I think that if insurance adjusters and defense lawyers were able to see the result of the settlements years after the cases end, it might change how they view cases during the process.  The following is a portion of that letter which discusses the impact of a settlement  far better than I ever could:

I am a former elementary teacher who eventually had a word processing business in my home and also worked as a temporary in a city attorney’s office. In 2003, three years after my diagnosis of cancer, I had the opportunity to move to the mountains (in another state) and work as a permanent employee and pay into their retirement system.

     I remember thinking that if I lived five years without the cancer coming back, I would break even financially as a result of the move. I also thought that if the cancer did come back, at least I would have a beautiful view of the mountains while I was sick. Thankfully today, I remain cancer free.

     As someone who was the first in my family to finish college and paid for my education, I was alwsys extremely cost conscious. Now, because of my settlement, I am able breathe alot easier now and enjoy life more. I am also thankful that the settlement served to hold the drug company accountable for what they did.

     One of the most fulfilling activities that I am now involved in is a Women’s Cancer Survivor Group. It is a privilege to give back by assisting women diagnosed with cancer. In addition, I have also had the opportunity to take an art class and have pursued a passion by producing note cards with my art, and framed prints. I never imagined that while healing from cancer, my life would lead me down this interesting and exciting path. I look forward to each day of the journey.”

DID YOU KNOW that the man and woman who were the original voices for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse got married in real life.mickey

For pic o’ day, a good reminder:

a smile

Drug Companies Paying Doctors

     An astronaut was sitting in the capsule, preparing for launch. Reporters still had access to them, before closing the hatch. The reporter asked “How do you feel when you are an astronaut, ready to take off?”  The astronaut looked at the reporter with a tilted head and answered, “How would you feel if you were sitting on top of at least fifty thousand parts that were each supplied by the lowest bidder?”

     It’s a fact of life that we all believe that money does provide influence. In the past few years, opinions about doctors, have taken a “hit” , because it is suspected that they are being influenced by the money of drug companies. It is the reverse of the astronaut’s opinion that maybe, cheaper impacts quality. Maybe drug company money effects treatment.

     The Richmond Times-Dispatch   has reported that at least 10 Virginia doctors have earned in excess of 100k from drug companies, during the period of 2009-2010. It is published by a NY  non-profit group ProPublica, under its compiled “Dollars for Docs” database.

     There is a move to ban doctors from receiving compensation or gifts from drug companies. The doctors that were interviewed, as part of the reported 10 from Virginia, gave such explanations that by speaking for the drug companies,  it brought special medication and treatment  awareness; That they were not influenced by the money and that, as one diabetes doctor said, “I feel like I am in a good position to teach primary care doctors how to properly take care of type 2 diabetes”.

     I wonder how accepting money somehow causes a doctor to be in a better “teaching position”. I do think that drug ads that say “Ask your doctor if it’s right for you”, is doing no favors for the medical profession.

     People have become smarter about taking personal responsibility for their own care. Now, I think, just because a doctor says it, no longer means that it is fully believed by the public. However, isn’t that unfortunate? The good old days of going to your family physician and he or she knowing your entire family, sure sounds good today. Instead, we sit wondering whether the medicaion is being given because the doctor is being paid as a “drug consultant”.

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