New Study Debunks “Five Myths of Medical Malpractice”

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For many years, the American Medical Association and government officials have been blaming multi-million-dollar jury awards and frivolous lawsuits for ballooning malpractice insurance premiums. But that blame is wildly misplaced.

CHEST is the peer reviewed official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP In the January 2013 issue of “CHEST,” the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.” Titled, “Five Myths of Medical Malpractice,” the study lists five famous myths, then debunks them with real facts.  Here is the authors’ summary open to all
 
We identify five myths of medical malpractice that have wide currency in medical circles. The myths are as follows: (1) Malpractice crises are caused by spikes in medical malpractice litigation (ie, sudden rises in payouts and claim frequency), (2) the tort system delivers “jackpot justice,” (3) physicians are one malpractice verdict away from bankruptcy, (4) physicians move to states that adopt damages caps, and (5) tort reform will lower health-care spending dramatically. We test each assertion against the available empirical evidence on the subject and conclude by identifying various nonmythical problems with the medical malpractice system.”

Read the article here: CHEST: Five Myths of Medical Malpractice.

 It is quite an admirable article, written for a physician audience that has clung onto a series of talking points to quell the ability of patient  seek compensation for wrongs committed against them.  The hard facts do not support these myths, in fact they debunk them.  For example, payouts have fall dramatically since 1992 in states with and without damage caps.  There are very few “frivolous claims” which have payouts.  In fact, patients who are true victims of malpractice recover money far more ofthen than patients treated non-negligently and most patients who were negligently injured do not initiate claims.  Moreover, as many as 85%   of initiated claims are closed without payment, with 2% of claims actually tried which results in a whoping 75% of the tried claims having a favorable verdict for the health care provider. 

Read: Stuart Ratzen’s Blog: For Safety’s Sake: Doctors Expose Medical Malpractice Myths

Most importantly, the authors address the issue of patient safety.   As many of us have argued over the years, caps on med mal damages do nothing to improve patient safety or the healthcare system, as a whole.  This article acknowledges that point.  As noted at the end of the article,  mandated caps on medmal damages “do little to improve the malpractice system… they do not make health-care safer, reduce health-care spending, compensate those who are negligently injured, or make the liability system work better.” The authors acknowledge that the best reforms in medicine are “patient safety initiatives that reduce the frequency and severity of medical mistakes.”
 
These five claims are tired and worn-out talking points of the insurance industry which believes healthcare reform equals tort reform. Most informed consumers recognize that real healthcare reform begins with issues of patient safety.Keep this in mind when people you know claim to have knowledge about medical care and medical malpractice. 
 
If you or a loved one have been injured because of medical negligence, contact an experienced  medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Call Edwards & Ragatz at 904-399-1609 to schedule a free consultation
 
 
Read the article here: CHEST: Five Myths of Medical Malpractice.

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