Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Elizabeth & Tony

Making the headlines this past week was the announcement by the Edwards' family that Elizabeth's cancer had returned. Then today we get word that Tony Snow's cancer has also returned.

Two high profile, public figures.

Two chances to educate the rest of us on two very serious illnesses.

The Edwards' appear to be protected by their wealth, if not insurance as well. Mr. Snow may (or may not) be as well off financially, but he is surely covered by the health plan available to government employees.

But will they get equal treatment by their providers?

At least one person speculates there may be reason for the Edward's to be handled much differently than Tony Snow.

John Edwards made his reputation and his fortune by vilifying physicians when crap happened, and convincing juries through questionable science, an aggressive expansion of malpractice territory, and powerful courtroom theater that someone was at fault.

Will this be held against him?

After entering political life, Edwards spun his human-suffering profiteering into a noble fight for the "little guy." That's a false opposition if ever there was one. Here's how his campaign website puts it:

"For the next 20 years, John dedicated his career to representing families and children just like the families he grew up with in Robbins. Standing up against the powerful insurance industry and their armies of lawyers, John helped these families through the darkest moments of their lives to overcome tremendous challenges. His passionate advocacy for people like the folks who worked in the mill with his father earned him respect and recognition across the country."

Or will his "new" image over-shadow his past, almost legendary fights against the medical establishment?

You can't expect Edwards to be clairvoyant. Nonetheless, it is without question that he has contributed to the current climate in which doctors are perceived as greedy bumblers, insensitive to the consequences of their actions, and who would continue to leave their physical and emotional wreckage but for the legal recourse that malpractice litigation offers.

Will he encounter doctors out for retribution?

John Edwards wants the best cancer care for his wife. Yet in the relentless pursuit of malpractice awards, he has helped create an environment where there is probably less of the best going around today, and where there will certainly be less of it in the future.

There is no way to predict how these situations (Edwards & Snow) will play out but one has to wonder just how many docs are willing to aggressively treat the wife of someone who single-handedly built a fortune by tearing down the profession he is trusting to treat his wife.
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