Thursday, December 02, 2004

When Average Isn't Good Enough

The New Yorker offers a very interesting piece on some of the factors which distinguish average doctors and medical centers from the exceptional. And it's not just devotion to science and sound methodology.


  1. For some reason seeing this reminded me of something else. I heard once that in law there is something called the 7-second rule where they have decided that it takes our brains 7 seconds to comprehend that we are going to die - and each second after that is worth a certain monetary value as it pertains to lawsuits. This true? I've been in some accidents before and I know within one or two seconds we can comprehend that we are crashing or whatever so 7 seconds seems wrong even.

  2. To maximize damages in a wrongful death case, it is usually necessary to demonstrate that the decedent had time to appreciate what was going to happen. That is, if the decedent died instantly without even realizing what was about to happen, it is difficult to argue that the decedent had significant "pain and suffering" damages. It wouldn't surprise me if such a "seven second rule" were argued in one jurisdiction or another, in an effort to minimize the horror that a decedent might have experienced during, say, a six second delay.

  3. Although I could see that argument really pissing off a jury.

    What a well-written article.

  4. It would be pretty terrible to hear a lawyer saying, "Little Timmy only had 6.24 seconds to figure out the plane was plummeting from the sky and that he wasn't going to be saved so I don't see any reason to award his mother any of this money!"


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