While the political debate over medical negligence tends to focus on doctors’ insurance premiums or health care costs, one very important factor is often overlooked: the injured patients.
The injuries patients suffer from preventable medical errors are very real. Some are easily calculated, such as additional medical costs and lost wages, while others are less so, such as quality of life and pain and suffering. The problem with many medical negligence reforms is that they do not seek to prevent medical errors, but merely to shift the burden of these damages to the injured patients themselves.
Although much attention has been given to “medical negligence liability crises,” in reality, very few injured patients ever file a medical negligence lawsuit.
In 2006, researchers at Harvard University announced the results of a study showing that most negligence claims involve medical error and serious injury, and concluded “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown.”i The researchers found that few claims were without merit, and those that were generally did not receive any money. Continue reading
The vast majority of academic and government research has uncovered little evidence that health care providers run more tests due to liability concerns; rather, patient safety or profit motives are the real reasons for conducting medical procedures. That key finding is from a new white paper by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) exploring a topic that has been subjected to myths and distortions during the health care debate.