Medical malpractice lawsuits provide accountability for medical errors and allow injured patients to recover compensation. However, another benefit of malpractice suits has been overlooked: the improved safety of American health care.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine recently completed a study that supports what medical malpractice attorneys have been saying for decades: malpractice lawsuits are not the cause of soaring healthcare costs.
Diagnosis errors account for more than 35 percent of all medical malpractice claim payouts, according to a study published by BMJ Quality and Safety. In malpractice suits involving wrongful death of the patient, a diagnosis mistake was involved 41 percent of the time.
In 2009, a nursing home resident was rushed to the hospital, barely clinging to life. Acting on limited information, the hospital staff attempted to treat the 46-year-old for a heart attack, but he died soon after. Postmortem toxicology tests revealed that the man did not die from an ordinary heart attack, but a morphine overdose.