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Second-Guessing Medical Decisions

August 08, 1994

Once again, it has taken a jury to show that medical care is no longer decided by the patient and their physician(s) but by the "bean counters" that make up the new bureaucracy in the era of "managed" (or is it mismanaged) care. ("Jury Awards $312,000 to O.C. Cancer Patient," July 29).

The audacity of the bureaucracy is reflected in Blue Shield's attorney's rhetorical question " . . . are organizations involved in the provision of health care services going to be able to make informed and rational decisions regarding medical treatments or will they be subject to second-guessing . . . ." Yes, individuals and physicians should second-guess so-called "rational decisions" based solely on economics. The fact that Ms. Schoenburg is still alive and able to pursue this litigation shows that Blue Shield may feel it was irrational for her to have a procedure, but the "rational" alternative was death for Ms. Schoenburg. I doubt if any executive or even attorney defending Blue Shield would have chosen that "rational decision." Shame on them for even posing it.

MICHAEL D. MYERS

Los Alamitos

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