A group of Texas doctors are speaking out
against personal injury lawsuit ads after a statewide study found an alarming
number of physicians are increasingly concerned about legal advertisements
targeting their patients for medical lawsuits.
Conducted on behalf of the Texans Against
Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) organization, researchers found that more than eight in
ten doctors across the state now believe some of the ads can lead patients to
stop taking their medications as prescribed to them by their doctors.
Physicians also expressed concern that at
least some of the advertisements can be misperceived as factual, medical
information, even ultimately steering patients away from their doctors to
lawyers for medical advice.
One of those taking the strongest stand is Dr.
Christine L. Canterbury, an Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist at the Corpus
Christi Women’s Clinic and president of the Bay City Area Citizens Against
Lawsuit Abuse organization.
recently penned a widely-circulated op-ed condemning the growing practice of
personal injury lawsuit ads being passed off as actual medical advice offered by
The TALA survey came as a direct response to an outbreak of
personal injury lawyer advertising designed to recruit patients into medical
lawsuits. In Texas, the issue is particularly pressing given a recent U.S.
Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform study found several nearby cities
placed in the top of national rankings for personal injury lawyer advertising
amount of personal injury lawyer advertising on television and, even more so,
online continues to skyrocket,” Jennifer Harris, executive director and
spokesperson for TALA, told the Record. “That’s
why Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse organizations have joined forces to raise
awareness among consumers about this type of advertising. As a doctor, that’s
something that troubles me greatly.”
Like Canterbury, medical
authorities across the state openly lament the way all the easily flowing misinformation
can lead to patients doubting the treatment they are receiving or even electing
to alter the way they take their medications without first consulting a doctor.
percent of Texas doctors surveyed agreed that personal injury lawsuit ads can lead to patients
doubting their treatments in one form or another and three in ten indicated they know of instances where patients have suffered
negative consequences stemming from personal injury lawsuit ads.
Estimates are personal
injury attorneys across the country now spend as much as $900 million on annual
advertising, much of it, some contend, concentrated on unproven theories and misinformation disseminated via lawyer-funded websites disguised as factual health
sorts of ads can be highly deceiving, and that’s why we’re concerned,” added
Harris. “Consumers may not realize that doctors are not the ones dispensing the
information, offering the publications or providing advice.”
While stressing that
patient adherence is critical to the recovery process for all patients, Canterbury
also insisted that many doctors are now perturbed with the way some personal injury
lawyers have taken to the business of offering medical advice without being
bound by any of the professional obligations that put the patient’s health
above all else that all licensed physicians are.
hoping our education and outreach efforts will elevate the attention to this
issue among lawmakers and regulators,” said Harris. “We also hope it makes
patients and consumers more aware of this type of possibly deceptive
advertising. We’ll certainly be watching to see what sort of legislative or
regulatory fix might be proposed and how we can support reforms.”
the end, Harris stresses that TALA’s message of “don’t let a lawyer be your
doctor” is clear.