Thursday, August 21, 2008

Anomalous Claims

If there is one thing in life that I just can't seem to understand, it's these claims that people make on anything and everything.  From hot coffee to medical malpractice.  You name it and someone out there has said that they were either hurt by it physically or emotionally.  What I find amazing is that all these people turn around and sue the people or places that supposedly did this to them and the claims that these people make are so far fetched that I think that God himself gets a kick out of them.  What's even more amazing is that other people actually believe them.  If they sue and actually get money, it's an ungodly amount of money. 

Take for instance the case of Donna Aslanis.  Donna Aslanis sued Burger King back in 2002 and said that  Burger King was negligent for injuries to her legs, thighs, buttocks and genitalia after she spilled coffee purchased in 1998 from a restaurant drive-through window in the central Missouri town of Rolla.  That's right...1998.  Four years after the fact.

The most famous coffee incident, and the one that everybody has heard of,  is the 1994 case of Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants.  Liebeck v. McDonald's is a well-known 1994 product liability lawsuit that became a flashpoint in the debate in the U.S. over tort reform after a jury awarded $2.86 million to a woman who burned herself with hot coffee. The trial judge reduced the total award to $640,000, and the parties settled for a confidential amount before an appeal was decided. The case entered popular understanding as an example of frivolous litigation.   ABC News calls the case “the poster child of excessive lawsuits.”

Others, especially opponents of tort reform, argue that Liebeck's recovery was just. They argue that the popular understanding of the case omits significant and relevant information. Liebeck's attorneys argued that McDonald's coffee was "defective", claiming that it was hotter and more likely to cause serious injury than coffee served elsewhere. Moreover, McDonald's had refused several prior opportunities to settle for less than the $640,000 ultimately awarded.  Reformers defend the popular understanding of the case as materially accurate; note that the vast majority of judges to consider similar cases dismiss them before they get to a jury; and argue that McDonald's refusal to offer more than a nuisance settlement reflects the meritless nature of the suit rather than any wrongdoing.

But it doesn't stop there.  In March of 2007, a woman has filed a lawsuit against Vivendi Games, Sierra Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and a defunct rental store called Hiawatha Video, after her infant suffered an epileptic seizure while playing Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly on a PS2 console. The lawsuit alleges the defendants were "negligent, careless, and reckless with regard to the design and manufacture" of Spyro.

According to the lawsuit, the child has suffered permanent disabling injuries that will affect him "in all activities of daily living." As with all other games, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly came with a warning about the possibility of experiencing epileptic seizures "when exposed to certain light patterns or flashing lights."

The woman was seeking damages on behalf of the child "for such fair and reasonable amount as may be awarded by a jury of his peers."  So it really doesn't matter if you put a warning on anything, because if something happens, then plan on getting sued.

Many of you have heard of the teen that got decapitated at Six Flags in Georgia a few months ago.  Now they are saying that Six Flags can be sued for his death and be held responsible.  Regardless of the fact that signs were posted all over the park of the dangers of the area that the boy was in.  Regardless of the fact that Six Flags fences were higher that the states required height limit for amusement parks.  Solely on the fact that the boy was able to get over the fences.  Just expect one thing, you can bet if the family of the boy does sue Six Flags and they win, you can bet that Six Flags around the nation are going to start looking more like prisons rather than amusement parks.  I can just see all the razor wire going up around 15 foot high fences!

The latest one that amazes me the most is the one that came out today about Dr. David Charles Lindsay, 42, who ran Sydney Skin Care Clinic over the past 10 years.  A female patient has testified Lindsay failed to apply a topical anesthetic after he removed a skin lesion from her thigh.

“He sprayed something briefly on the surface of my leg and I experienced what felt like an incision, deep into the flesh,” claims the woman. “I let out a cry of pain. He looked at me for a moment, and without saying a word, he went on with his work.”

Oh and you just let him...

But wait, it goes on.

"Again he cut into my leg. The pain was so excruciating that I asked, 'Have you got ether or something?' Again he said nothing. I could feel the implement being dragged through my flesh".

And still you just sat there and took it?  The guy is doing a skin graph on you.  He doesn't use any type of numbing medicine or anything after part of the session is over, so you continue to let him do it again for a second session?  Ok, this seems a little to unreal for my taste.  Who in their right mind just sits there through the pain like this woman claims she did?  Her claim is just a little hard to swallow!  Yet the Medical Tribunal of New South Wales has suspended Lindsay saying that he lacked the sensitivity a doctor should have.

The funniest thing about this whole case is that after the Doctor found out that this woman was making a claim against him, he took out her medical records and wrote in them, "Severe personality disorder - wants to destroy doctor's career. Nice."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Will there ever be another Michael Phelps?

History has been made.  Michael Phelps has gotten 8 Gold Metals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.  Something that no other person in Olympics History has ever done before. 

But here is the real question, will this ever happen again?  Is there anybody out there that can match the feat of 8 Gold Metals in a single Olympics?  I have been hearing that what Michael Phelps has done may never happen again.  I have also heard that it WILL NEVER happen again.  But how can they be so sure?  Even though it has been 36 years since Mark Spitz received 7 Gold Metals in a single Olympics, it was finally surpassed by Michael Phelps.  Many thought that Mark Spitz's record could not be broken.  Obviously that is not the case.  So can another swimmer match the accomplishment of Michael Phelps?  Sure.  I mean, why not?

On May 6th, 1954, Roger Bannister did what the "experts" said could not be done.  Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes.  For years the "experts" said that this could not be done.  Many had tried and many had come only seconds short, but none had succeeded in breaking the 4 minute mile.  Because no one was able to do it, people just assumed that it was impossible. 

Even more incredible than that was that just 46 days after Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, another man by the name of John Landy, of Australia, broke Bannisters record.

On August 7, at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, B.C., Bannister competed against Landy for the first time in a race billed as "The Miracle Mile". They were the only two men in the world to have broken the 4-minute barrier, with Landy still holding the world record. Landy led for most of the race, building a lead of 10 yards in the third lap (of four), but was overtaken on the last bend, and Bannister won in 3 min 58.8 s, with Landy 0.8 s behind in 3 min 59.6 s. Bannister and Landy have both pointed out that the crucial moment of the race was that at the moment when Bannister decided to try to pass Landy, Landy looked over his left shoulder to gauge Bannister's position and Bannister burst past him on the right, never relinquishing the lead.

As more and more people knew it was possible to break the 4 minute mile, more and more people trained to break it and break the records of Landy and Bannister.  Within 10 years after Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, 336 other people had broken the 4 minute mile as well.  If you look at today's runners, more and more of them are breaking the 4 minute mile as well.  Most runners who run a mile in the Olympics as fast as they can are able to break the 4 minute mile.  The difference is not dramatic between runners, but the fastest person to ever run the mile was Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999 at a time of 3:43.13.

My point is simple.  People can match what Michael Phelps has done with a pure determination to do so.  All it takes is a little bit of effort.  Michael Phelps had the determination to get 8 Gold Metals in a single Olympics and surpass Mark Spitz and he did.  If there is another swimmer out there with as much determination or even more determination than Michael Phelps, then the impossible becomes possible.