I am renouncing my place of birth. No, not my country. For all its faults, I love the United States and miss it when I am away. And no, not my birth state of Texas, despite its perceived great Satan status among the media elite. I am not even renouncing my birth city of Houston, despite the fact I don't think I could ever return to the traffic and humidity. I am taking the bold, original step of renouncing my birth hospital. I was born at St. Luke's in the Texas Medical Center, and they are apparently going over to the dark side:
St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital's famed medical tower will soon be renamed for a
Houston lawyer who has made millions taking the health care industry to trial.
The plan to rename the edifice after John O'Quinn in recognition of a $25
million donation by his foundation has infuriated many St. Luke's doctors, who
last week began circulating a petition against it and Monday night convened an
emergency meeting of the medical executive committee.
"Perhaps you are unaware of the intensity of feelings held by many physicians
about Mr. John O'Quinn," says the petition, which is addressed to the Rev. Don
Wimberly, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chairman of the St.
Luke's Episcopal Health System board of directors. "The primary source of his
financial success has been representing plaintiffs in medical liability and
products liability cases, many of them groundless."
Where does the money come from? In part from O'Quinn's baseless but infuriatingly successful suits over breast implants, which no serious medical study have shown to be dangerous:
A plaintiff's lawyer who often has sued doctors, O'Quinn made some of his
fortune on litigation involving breast implants, which bankrupted a company (Dow
Corning) even though the consensus later developed that the science didn't back
up the claims.
Another part of the money comes from pushing bogus asbestos claims that have kept most of the asbestos settlement money out of the hands of the truly sick:
In July 2005, a Corpus Christi federal judge fined O'Quinn's law firm for its
part helping to produce what she called bogus diagnoses involving the
occupational illness silicosis, a serious and occasionally fatal lung disease.
She said the claims "defy all medical knowledge" and the diagnoses were about
"litigation rather than health care."