Republicans say there is a “malpractice crisis,” experts disagree.

This issue is not a Republican versus Democrat or Liberal versus Conservative matter.  You have probably heard or read the following:  

The medical malpractice crisis is threatening U.S. health care.  

Baloney:  Medical errors claim more than 250,000 lives each year and medical negligence is the third-leading cause of death in America.  Sounds to me like the threat is coming from inside the healthcare system.

Frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and forcing physicians out of business.

Baloney:  Doctors are paying less for malpractice insurance than they did in 2001 according to the Doctors’ Company, one of the nation’s largest malpractice insurers.

Doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make health care unaffordable for Americans.

Baloney: Some doctors may order unnecessary tests to “protect” themselves from litigation but in just as many occasions, or more, the doctor is ordering the tests due to the financial considerations.  As for “unaffordability,” do not expect me to believe that the hospital who charges $5 for an aspirin is charging that outrageous amount out of concern over getting sued.

And don’t get me started on damage caps passed in many states.  Only doctors and hospitals get to avoid full responsibility for their acts of negligence.  If the average citizen kills an innocent pedestrian who is 30 years old, earning $125,000 a year, with a non-working spouse, and 4 dependent children, you can bet the surviving spouse and children have economic losses far above $2,000,000.  Under the law of almost every state, the surviving family in an automobile accident case can fully recover for their loss.  However, it is likely the majority of states would not allow a full recovery if that family suffered the same losses due to medical negligence.

Read an interesting Washington Post article on this issue here.

 

4

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.