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Stay Informed

This article in The Wall Street Journal caught my eye. Fungal infections are becoming increasingly common. The diagnosis is often missed or delayed with horrible consequences. In some instances, the mortality rate is 30-60%.

As a medical malpractice lawyer, it's critical that I stay informed about developments that could impact my practice and our clients. It's not hard to see how a failure to diagnose a fungal infection could be the basis of a malpractice suit.

I have circulated a copy of this article to our lawyers and intake personnel. We need to be on the lookout. Such cases are coming. I have little doubt.

Being a trial lawyer, I understand that the facts of any given case are what matter.

It's that simple.

In medical malpractice cases, the facts are medical facts.

More than once, I have had a young lawyer express frustration about the difficulty of learning the necessary medicine. In some variation or another, I have heard the exasperated complaint of "I went to law school, not medical school." (Such complaints are an almost certain indicator that that attorney won't last long.)

Medical facts can be hard to understand. I know.

Other than the most basic (and required) science courses in high school and college, I have zero formal education in this regard. When I was a defense lawyer, I used to joke that if doctors could see my paucity of science courses - and the grades I got in the ones I did take - they would ask their insurance company to assign someone else to defend them.

Somehow, I have figured it out. So have lots of other good trial lawyers.

If I can figure out how to present a case to a jury about disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) or cross-examine a world class neurosurgeon about Moya-Moya disease, I have no sympathy for those who claim that it's just too hard to understand the facts of their cases.

To me, the challenge of this constant learning process is a huge part of why I still love this sometimes crazy business.

In summary:

1. Facts drive cases.

2. Good facts equal good cases.

3. Bad facts equal bad cases.

If you are a trial lawyer, you absolutely have to understand this.

If you can't or won't learn what you need to learn to represent your clients effectively, please find a different occupation. It might sound harsh, but we don't need you in this profession.


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