Our readers are all aware that medical error is not an uncommon occurrence in the United States, despite the overall high quality of medical care. Just how prevalent medical errors are, though, is not as clear to the average consumer of medical services. To remedy this problem, a nonprofit company called Leapfrog Group has launched a report card for consumers to track the safety performance of numerous acute-care hospitals.
When a patient is harmed by a negligent doctor, nurse, hospital or other health care provider or institution they deserve some measure of justice. This can come by way of compensation, either through a settlement or jury award, as in medical malpractice litigation. It can also come in the form of provider discipline.
What would you think if you were told that the average payout in medical malpractice cases in Michigan was roughly $7.45 per year for 2012 and 2013? Maybe you’d be indifferent, not knowing whether that’s good or bad. Maybe you’d argue in favor of tort reform to reduce the occurrence of malpractice cases, or maybe you’d argue that the legal system needs to do more to protect patients who are harmed by their doctors.
An ophthalmologist recently agreed to pay the federal government $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit against him concerning the False Claims Act.