Fear of Getting Sued

Something basic has been stolen from American life. We have lost much of our individual freedom due to the theft in our society. Our thieves come in the form of "sue happy" Americans. Doctors are paranoid, teachers are weakened and religious consultation is decreased. You would have to be a fool to say what you really think in the workplace. Increasingly, people believe that they cannot make a difference.
Today, the medical industry has been transformed. Doctors must live by a different code of ethics other than their oath. Legal fear has put the doctor-patient relationship in jeopardy. Today, physicians view patients as potential malpractice litigants. Therefore, doctors order unnecessary costly tests or avoid treating patients to insure safety from lawsuits. In Chicago, emergency room personnel refused to care for a boy who was shot, and had collapsed thirty feet outside the hospital door, because their legal duties were only to those inside. Because of the fear of lawsuits, the young boy was denied the opportunity to live. Not only are doctor-patient relationships affected, teachers and students are learning under precise laws.
Teachers no longer have the opportunity to discipline their students in fear of violating the student\'s rights. Students now dictate how classrooms are instructed. Teachers must be aware of their physical contact and ethical topics that can lead into false allegations. How can a student learn in this environment? Teachers need the ability to discipline students. Evicting the fear of lawsuits from teachers makes for a more productive atmosphere. The classroom is not the only place where safety and responsibility are weakened. Playgrounds have been plagued with frivolous lawsuits against the schools and each other. In 1996, a three-year-old boy and girl got into a pushing incident. The girls mother got angry and had words with the other mother. The angry mother then sued for a restraining order to keep the boy off the same playground. Could you believe the judge issued an injunction? What we once considered harmless childhood play is no longer allowed on our playgrounds. Seesaws, monkey bars, and merry-go-rounds are considered dangerous and a sign of the past.
When considering the past, faith has been an integral part of how society functions. No matter what faith, lawsuits do not discriminate. Philip K. Howard stated, "Nothing is sacred. Ministers now are increasingly told not to counsel troubled parishioners because, who knows, maybe someone will sue if the couple ends up getting divorced." How can we as fellow parishioners allow this to happen? When did we develop a fright for participating in a faith? Lets permit ministers to counsel as they have for centuries. Church and State have always been separate, lets keep it that way!
Sociologist Orlando Patterson asked the question, "Do you think whites are afraid of discrimination claims? Frozen with fear is more accurate." The sociologist observed, "no Euro-American person…dare say what he or she really means." Fear of a discrimination claim hangs over all black-white relations in the workplace. A lawsuit that favors no cultural background is sexual harassment. Trying to be fair, American law, has shut out our ability to be ourselves in dealing with others. No longer is showing affection, fowl language, or stereotypical jokes allowed within the workplace. This discredits the opportunity for freedom of expression and speech. Again, our American rights are diminished, due to the fear of litigation.
Americans go through the day looking over their shoulders, scared of potential lawsuits from every day activities. People are not afraid of doing something wrong but of someone claiming they did. It almost seems it could be anyone, in almost any situation. We have discussed how children can no longer play innocently on playgrounds, doctors can no longer follow their sworn oath, ministers can no longer counsel their parishioners freely and expressing ourselves in the workplace is no longer acceptable. Our beliefs will not matter until we let those with responsibility act on their beliefs. What good is a teacher if they cannot discipline their class? What help is a doctor if they are making decisions that are foreign to them? Individualism and responsibility need to be reinserted into society. Let us be more attentive to our own actions and less of others. I