According to supporters of so called “tort reform”, (i.e. insurance companies and large corporations trying to avoid accountability when they negligently injure or kill someone), and their lobbyists, medical malpractice cases should be limited by severely restricting the amount someone needlessly injured or the family of someone needlessly killed, can be compensated for pain-and-suffering and reducing statute of limitations (the amount of time an injured patient has to file a lawsuit against the hospital or doctor after the medical incident). These groups typically say that malpractice cases have pushed physicians to practice defensive medicine—a method to try to protect themselves from being sued by prescribing unnecessary and expensive tests. And naturally, they say this is what causes health care costs to increase.
However, recent studies show that this is NOT TRUE.
Studies by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office have all shown that limiting the amount of malpractice cases has had no influence on health care costs. As a matter of fact, a likely reason doctors opt for more defensive medicine is to generate more income.
In fact, verdicts from malpractice cases may be the most effective way to make health care safer. For example, a couple of decades ago, anesthesiologists were paying some of the highest malpractice premiums in medicine because of the severe injuries and deaths that resulted from violating patient safety rules. However, after a wave of bad publicity prompted by the large verdicts from malpractice cases, the American Society of Anesthesiologists instituted procedures like mandatory monitoring, improved training and limited work hours, along with other reforms directed at improving patient safety.
The results were dramatic. According to one author, the incidence of death caused by anesthesia went from 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 200,000 over a ten year period. And the malpractice insurance rates fell as well.
Every health care provider has to follow established patient safety rules.
When someone comes to us with a child or family member who has been seriously injured or killed due to negligent medical care in the medical system, we work to hold hospitals, HMOs, healthcare companies and doctors accountable for harming patients and families.
If you have been severely injured from a medical mistake a hospital, HMO or doctor, call us at (202) 393 - 3320 and we'll get started on solving this problem together.