25 September 2004

Those who attack lawyers and demand radical changes to the legal system are blaming the messengers and trying to punish the victims

Neurosurgeon Harvey Wachsman pens an insightful USA Today column regarding medical malpractice lawsuits. Basically, lawsuits are the only protection the public has against negligent physicians.
The malpractice crisis is not about lawyers and lawsuits. It is about the tremendous amount of malpractice being committed. And it is about the conspiracy of silence that keeps the public in the dark. Lawsuits are the only protection the public has.

And a recent Public Citizen analysis refutes a link between medical malpractice lawsuits and insurance premiums. Thirty states already have instituted caps on jury awards, but the caps haven't resulted in lower insurance rates.

On average, only 3% of physician revenue is spent on malpractice insurance. How much of your monthly budget is earmarked for health insurance? It's probably closer to 10% or even higher if you're not endowed with a discounted employer group plan.

Considering that 5% of doctors are responsible for the majority of all medical malpractice claims, wouldn't a more prudent strategy in combating medical errors involve weeding out bad doctors?


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