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.
More than 95 percent of hospitals use information from medical malpractice lawsuits to improve the quality of their patient safety programs, according to a study by Joanna C. Schwartz that was recently published in the New York Times. When a patient files suit, it puts a spotlight on a medical mistake. If this illumination doesn't occur, there is a good chance the instance will be ignored, overlooked or considered unimportant.
Medical malpractice lawsuits bring an array of important benefits, but many are quick to point out the drawbacks. Doctors claim that the threat of litigation forces them to practice defensive medicine, where they must focus on minimizing their liability, rather than always doing what's best for the patient. However, many professionals face lawsuits if they make injurious errors. Lawyers, contractors and mechanics are held accountable by lawsuits, too.
Another oft-claimed drawback of medical malpractice litigation is its effect on the cost of health care. This claim has lead to tort reform measures that have decimated the rights of injured patients across the nation over the past several decades. This argument has been debunked by a variety of reputable entities - including Johns Hopkins who found that malpractice expenses account for 0.05 percent of the total cost of health care - and should no longer hold weight with competent people working in the fields of medicine and politics.
From a societal perspective, it's obvious that the right to bring meaningful medical malpractice lawsuits is far more beneficial than damaging. From the perspective of an injured patient or his family, it would be outrageous to further restrict the victim's right to recover full compensation for the suffered harm.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death from a physician's mistake, speak with an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.
McKeen & Associates, PC, is a national medical malpractice firm that helps patients and families who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Based in Detroit, its staff of attorneys holds a nationwide reputation for securing impressive results for clients.
Source: The New York Times, "Learning From Litigation," Joanna C. Schwartz, May 16, 2013