Casinos Give More Money-Back Guarantees than Health Care Professionals
by Greg Perry
Dr. Max Wells, a wealthy retired Austin Doctor, is suing casinos and the drug company that sold him his Parkinson's disease medication. He blames his $14 million gambling loss last year on his gambling addiction. He says the medicine caused his loss and (I'm not making this up) he says the casinos are also responsible because they didn't stop him from gambling.
Hmmm, perhaps I can sue the Nordstrom department store chain. They never stopped my wife from shopping there...
Certainly the Doctor's lack of responsible behavior is the problem. For anyone with a brain cell, the first thought that comes to mind is that he misses the money he knowingly lost and is trying for the easy way out. Suing for the money is easier than earning it back.
If he had won $14 million, he should give the money back to the casinos. The medicine made him do it. He had nothing to do with the wins. Perhaps casinos should learn which winners last year had Parkinson's disease and sue for their money back.
This issue really irks me.
Past readers of my columns know how the widespread abuse of disability laws sticks in my craw. Past readers of my columns know how the disability laws themselves stick in my craw. Disability laws under the umbrella of the Americans with Disabilities Act are the worst. I'm not saying the ADA should be abolished by next week. I say the ADA should be abolished today by noon.
Having said that, this doctor isn't doing what most abusers of the ADA do; he isn't blaming his disability on his loss.
There is only one thing worse than blaming your hardship on disabilities: that is blaming your hardship on others.
For years I have marveled that the medical community is the only profession that never guarantees its work. The guy who changes my oil guarantees his work. The store where we buy food guarantees the food is fresh or they give us a refund or exchange. Heck, even lawyers often work on a contingency basis where they get paid if they are successful.
Not doctors. When I've been forced to go to a doctor, he's never guaranteed his work. He's never told me, "If this medicine doesn't help you I will give your money back." I've had 4 operations and not once has a surgeon promised, "If anything goes wrong, I'll make this right at my expense or I will refund your money."
Why is the medical profession the only hands-off, judge-us-by-our-promises-and-not-our-results profession in the world?
If a doctor were ever to make a You'll-be-better-or-your-money-back guarantee, that doctor would have more patients, happier patients, and more income, than any other doctor in the world. Why is this obvious to every other profession but not doctors? Perhaps it's the medical schools. You're not born that ignorant; it takes 10+ years of AMA-approved medical education to get that ignorant.
Given their seemingly universal complete lack of assurance for their patients, I can't believe the nerve this Doctor Wells has. He expects to get money back that he knowingly lost.
My Doctor, the Pit Boss
There's another angle that makes this guy's lawsuit not just more absurd but also more evil. It's the medical profession that is the most protective of its own services.
If you told me that you've eaten no fruit this past year and you just came down with a case of scurvy, the medical industry could sue me if I told you oranges and other fruit with vitamin C would cure your scurvy. They would say I was practicing medicine.
When they accuse a non-AMA-approved person of "practicing medicine" you should know that is code talk. That is Medical Profession Code Talk for, "We don't get a cut of your 10+ years of training, we don't get a cut of drugs not taken, we don't get a cut of medical equipment, and we don't get a cut of a real doctor's office visit."
Extortion and monopolies are illegal everywhere in America unless practiced by the medical community or the United States Government.
This doctor violated his own belief by acting as though the casino should have stopped him from gambling. He told several of the casino employees that he had Parkinson's and they didn't stop him from gambling. That sounds to me as though he expected casino employees to practice medicine. If they are expected to know about disease and drug interactions, as this Doctor Wells expected, then he expected them to know enough to practice medicine. Prescribing that he not gamble due to the risk factors that his disease and drug are known for, means they would be prescribing health care without that AMA-approved (and paid) diploma.
If the American Medical Association were consistent (they are not) or honest, I would think they would immediately tell this Doctor Wells to shut up and stop acting as though laymen can make medical decisions. They would tell him to stop looking to his casino's Pit Boss for medical help.
The Casino Gives Guarantees, Why Can't Doctors?
When your doctor prescribes a drug or operation, your doctor expects payment no matter what the consequences are. If the doctor's prescribed drug or operation fails, the doctor doesn't give your money back. At best you're still sick. At worst you die. The doctor gets paid either way.
It's good work if you can get it.
The casino is far more altruistic than the medical profession as a whole. If you win or lose money in a casino, the casino gives you perks. The casinos will give you some cash back based on your play (as Doctor Wells surely got). The casinos might pay your entire first-class airfare (as Doctor Wells did get). Your spouse might get free shopping sprees (as Doctor Wells' wife got). The casinos will pay for your meals (as Doctor Wells got). The casinos will pay for your nice suites (as Doctor Wells got).
In other words, the casinos do their best to satisfy their customers. They want their customers to be pleased whether they win or lose. They offer guarantees, through their comp systems, that you'll come away with something good no matter how much you lose. The medical profession, including this Doctor Wells, cannot conceive of standing by their own prescriptions.
I have a close friend in spite of the fact that he's an AMA-approved doctor. I once told him how successful he would be if he would offer money-back guarantees on his practice. "Tom," I said, "think of how patients would trust you so much more if you said, 'You get better or I don't keep your money.'"
That's the point, Tom! If every prescription or operation worked then this wouldn't be an issue. There are too many variables involved with toilets too and that's why plumbers offer money-back guarantees. Who would call a plumber that says up front, "I may or may not fix this correctly but I keep your money either way"?
I hold my casino Pit Bosses and my plumbers to a far higher standard than I hold most in the medical community.
February 24, 2006
Greg Perry [send him mail] but he'd rather play Video Poker than write! Video Poker is the highest-returning game in most casinos and offers more than 100% payback over time if you play correctly. If you'd like to know what all the Video Poker fuss is, you'll love his newest book, Confessions of a Video Poker Winner - Revealing Answers for Casual Gamblers Who Seek the Real Truth Behind a Beatable Game.
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