Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why Is It Lawyers Can Dump Their Clients And Doctors Can't?

Remember the case of Michael Dunn, the white Florida man who shot a van full of black teenagers because they wouldn't turn their music down? He was later convicted of attempted murder on three of the teens but the jury could not decide on a verdict for first degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.

Mr. Dunn was originally supposed to start his new trial in May. But now the Florida judge has postponed that trial for the remaining charge of first degree murder. The new trial may not take place until much later this year because apparently Mr. Dunn could no longer afford his attorney from his first case and has to start all over again with a new lawyer that is probably a public defender or working pro bono.

Hmm. A man's fate is in the lawyer's hands but he punts his client to somebody else because the client can't pay the fees. In medicine that is called patient dumping which is highly frowned upon. As doctors, we have to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay. This man's life could be on the line, just like many of our patients, but it seems like lawyers can dump their clients with impunity. The original lawyer was probably the best one to continue the case since he has already gone through one trial and knows all the details intimately. Now a second lawyer has to come in and review all the records and try to understand what the first lawyer was doing. We know how frustrating it can be when we get patients transferred from another hospital and try to decipher the reasons why certain tests were performed and why some things were overlooked. It is never as smooth as if the originial caregiver continued the case.

So good look Mr. Dunn on your new lawyers. You're going to need it.

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