Association of Family Practice PAs & NPs

When the Hurricane Passes and the Flood Waters Recede: Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA, DFAAPA

Posted 5 months ago by Mary Kathryn LeMay

August through Oct 7 of 2017 has seen a greater number and category intensity of hurricanes and floods in the last 100 years. The areas that had the most destruction were regions in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. Unspeakable category 4-5 winds of 150 miles struck with such force that homes, infrastructure, docks and refineries were totally destroyed as well as a massive destruction in Puerto Rico, complete with mudslides and loss of life. Hospitals were destroyed, the electrical grid was decimated and many were found to be starving and thirsty. When people returned to their homes, they found utter devastation, a loss of everything of historical value. These traumatized individuals had to realize that 90% of the homes were not insured for hurricanes or for the great flood waters. Despair in the present now accompanies a complete loss of hope for their futures. This cannot be corrected by purchasing any insurance now as the event is history.

Why am I capitalizing on the misfortune of all these good people? In many cases, it is because they lacked the knowledge or finances to have even the basic homeowners insurance. It would have made a difference for many. As I spoke to colleagues from insurance companies and as I renewed my own insurance with flood insurance with USAA, a veterans' owned insurance company, I felt a greater security, although I have never been without insurance. Many mentioned that they are receiving scores of calls and are making statements such as "I have never had a flood in my area for 100 years. 

The analogy I wish to present is that many of the PAs and NPs reading this missive have never had a malpractice claim in their practice history. But does that insulate you from having an unpredictable medical error in the future with a law suit imposed, a deposition made, and witnesses secured? Even the best practitioners make patient errors which can cost a patient pain, disfigurement, loss of occupation as well as loss of life. That is the terrifying truth and the damages can include financial loss, loss of all earnings and possessions, loss of our homes, our licenses, our future hopes and dreams for ourselves. But even more devastating is the loss of security for our children and family. Some errors are even criminal and can cost a loss of freedom. How can I, as a clinician, avert these consequences? The only answer and one I give in every medical and surgical lecture as a warning to those who have “ears to hear” is to purchase a Personal Liability Insurance policy that has your name on the first page of the certificate and exists for only one purpose: to defend you. I have discovered through personal research and the research of the board of directors of national organizations and state organizations , that CM&F, located in NYC, is a ++Best Rated AAA company and will be there to defend you and keep your finances safe. The decision must be yours, not unlike the victims of receding storm waters. The time is now; the time is today.