Why Lawsuits Are Good for America: Disciplined Democracy, Big Business, and the Common Law

Why Lawsuits Are Good for America: Disciplined Democracy, Big Business, and the Common Law

Why Lawsuits Are Good for America: Disciplined Democracy, Big Business, and the Common Law

Why Lawsuits Are Good for America: Disciplined Democracy, Big Business, and the Common Law


Schizophrenia is widely considered the most severe and disabling of the mental illnesses. Yet recent research has demonstrated that many people afflicted with the disorder are able to recover to a significant degree.

Living Outside Mental Illness demonstrates the importance of listening to what people diagnosed with schizophrenia themselves have to say about their struggle, and shows the dramatic effect this approach can have on clinical practice and social policy. It presents an in-depth investigation, based on a phenomenological perspective, of experiences of illness and recovery as illuminated by compelling first-person descriptions.

This volume forcefully makes the case for the utility of qualitative methods in improving our understanding of the reasons for the success or failure of mental health services. The research has important clinical and policy implications, and will be of key interest to those in psychology and the helping professions as well as to people in recovery and their families.


Imagine three hospital patients considering surgery. Their surgeons discuss with each of them the risks and benefits of the procedures. Every surgery entails risk. the patient may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia; his or her system may fail under the trauma of the surgery; there may be uncontrollable bleeding, bacterial infection, a virus in the blood the patient receives by transfusion. and since the operation will be performed by human beings, there is always the risk of error. in their conversations with their patients, the surgeons describe the greatest risks but not all the risks. the list is too long, and besides, there is no point in scaring patients silly. Law and good medical practice, however, require physicians to inform patients about “material” risks, that is, the risks a reasonable patient would want to consider in deciding whether to have the procedure. the surgeons, therefore, tell their patients something about cumulative risk. Let us assume that these are young, strong patients who are undergoing low-risk procedures. the surgeons inform their patients that they have better than a 99 percent of surviving the procedures and a 90 percent chance of a successful outcome without major complications.

Since these are merely hypothetical cases and we can afford to be merciless, let us assume that all three patients die during surgery. To increase the pathos even more: each patient had young children and was the principal breadwinner in the family. the families want to know what went wrong. Unsatisfied with what the doctors and hospitals tell them, they hire lawyers. Investigations ensue. the lawyer in one case discovers, and can prove, that the anesthesiologist mistakenly used the wrong anesthesia. the lawyer in a second case learns that the anesthesia machine was defective and dispensed a dose ten times greater than what the doctor punched in on the keypad and the machine displayed. the lawyer in the third case, however, is not able to discover what went wrong. It is not for lack of trying; the third investigation is conducted . . .

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