Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lawyers manufacturing data for class-action suits

(Still in the process of moving to Charlotte.) The lawyers defending silica manufacturers against a class-action suit discovered lots of the same people claiming injury from both silicosis and asbestos poisoning. It seems that when you give some doctors a chest X-ray, whether they say "this patient has silicosis" or "this patient has asbestos poisoning" depends on what the lawyers paying for the diagnosis are looking for. Normally this is hard to prove, especially when the doctor can claim to be an expert witness. But for thousands of patients some doctors gave both diagnoses.
When Dr. (Ray) Harron was asked about another case of a person who first received a diagnosis of one disease, and then of the other, Judge (Janis) Jack interrupted the questioning to ask what happened to the first illness. "Well," she said, "where did it go?" Dr. Harron responded, "Like I say, I don't know." Shortly after that, Dr. Harron cut his testimony short, citing the need to retain his own lawyer.
I am shocked, SHOCKED.