A Medical Malpractice Study Published By New York Law School Concluded That Medical Malpractice Facts Are Not As Reported By The Media

The Center for Justice and Democracy at the New York Law School recently published a study that conflicts with many commonly held beliefs regarding medical malpractice. The summary conclusions of the study are:

-Few injured patients file claims or lawsuits; experts agree that when cases are filed, they are not
-The number (“frequency”) and size (“severity”) of medical malpractice claims, lawsuits and
inflation-adjusted payouts are low and dropping.
-A small number of doctors are responsible for most malpractice payouts; even the most incompetent
physicians are rarely held accountable by state medical boards.
-“Tort reforms” keep legitimate cases from being filed.
-Physicians greatly misperceive their risk of being sued; personal assets not at risk
-Successful plaintiffs receive far less than most people think – compensation is for serious injuries
or death; high verdicts are almost always slashed; and punitive damages are extremely rare.
-Medical malpractice cases are not clogging the courts; strong cases settle.
-Lawsuits filed for medical negligence are not frivolous, yet it is still difficult for patients to prevail.
-Experts say that, even with its problems, the current medical malpractice system works.
-The best way to reduce malpractice litigation is to reduce the amount of malpractice.
-Numerous studies have debunked the notion that health care costs can be saved by stripping
away patients’ legal rights; “tort reform” has no impact on so-called defensive medicine.
-Studies establishing “defensive medicine” depend almost entirely on untrustworthy physician
surveys, often conceived by lobby groups pushing “tort reform.”
-Defensive medicine and Medicare fraud.
-The real reason doctors order too many tests: profit.
-“Tort reform” in Texas has had no effect on physician supply.
-Many studies confirm that “tort reform” has had no effect on physician supply nationally.
-Lifestyle and age considerations are the most important factor for determining not only a
doctor’s choice of location, but also his or her choice of specialty.
-Medical malpractice insurers have been incredibly profitable in recent years.
-Medical malpractice premiums have been dropping since 2006; inflation-adjusted, they are
nearly the lowest they have been in over 30 years.
-Premiums have dropped irrespective of whether “tort reforms” have been enacted
in any particular state.
“Caps” do not lower insurance premiums for doctors.
-Industry insiders have repeatedly said that capping damages will not lower insurance rates.
-Strong insurance regulatory laws are the only way to control insurance rates for doctors
and hospitals.
-Medical errors occur in alarming numbers and are extremely costly.
-Some hospital departments are particularly unsafe.
-The situation is far worse because major errors go unreported.
-Most patients worry about medical errors.
-Patient safety is suffering because so few injured patients sue.
-Litigation improves patient safety.
-“Fear of litigation” is not the main reason doctors fail to report errors.
-“Tort reform” interferes with patient safety initiatives.

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