THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM DEBATE

It seems you can’t go anywhere without hearing comments that lawyers and medical malpractice lawsuits are ruining America! Those individuals who hold this opinion believe that there are too many frivolous lawsuits filed against health care providers and that many good doctors are leaving the profession as a result. The allegations are horrible…but are they true?

Take a look at these facts:

1. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year at a cost of $29 billion.

2. If the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were to include preventable medical
errors as a category, these conclusions would make it the sixth leading cause of death in America….ahead of death caused by Diabetes or Alzheimer’s Disease.

3. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 181,000 severe injuries attributable to medical negligence in 2003.

4. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates there are 15 million incidents of medical harm each year.

5. HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare rating organization,
found that Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety incident had a one-in-five chance of dying as a result.

6. Researchers at the Harvard School of Medicine have found that even today, about 18 percent of patients in hospitals are injured during the course of their care and that many of those injuries are life-threatening, or even fatal.

7. The Joint Commission Center on Transforming Healthcare reported that
as many as 40 wrong site, wrong side and wrong patient procedures happen every week in the U.S.

My Conclusion: There are problems with the level of medical care received by Americans….I just don’t think they are caused by the legal system.

Want to read more on this discussion? Check out the American Association of Justice report.

Dan Frith

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.