On this blog, we focus on the issues that face victims of medical malpractice and how these people can seek justice given the horrible treatment they received at the doctor's office. However, sometimes it is beneficial to analyze the other side of the issue to have a better understanding of the whole topic. In this regard, today we want to talk about the defenses doctor's and medical institutions use to combat medical malpractice claims against them.
In our last post, we noted both the importance of informed consent in health care, as well as the fact that informed consent is not necessarily always sufficient. Under Michigan law, negligence can occur with informed consent when a physician fails to reasonably inform a patient of the risks of a treatment.
According to research conducted by John Hopkins University, medical errors kill approximately 251,000 patients each year across America. Countless other patients are injured by medical malpractice.
Last time, we began looking at a lawsuit filed against Michigan State University for its alleged failure to supervise a physician accused of sexually assault female patients during medical examinations and procedures. As we noted last time, one of the areas of focus in the litigation is the university’s new informed consent policy.
When we talk about medical malpractice on this blog, we are usually speaking specifically about the liability a doctor faces for acting negligently with respect to his or her professional duties. Medical malpractice, in this sense, is only one part of the total picture of liability for harm to a patient, though. In many cases, it is not only the physician that can face liability for patient harm, but also the hospital staff that assisted in the medical care or treatment and the hospital which employed the physician.
Last time, we looked briefly at a federal measure being proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives which would put a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. That measure, as some readers may know, is one of a number of Republican proposals aimed at reforming the civil justice system on a broader basis at the federal level.
As we mentioned in our last post, law makers in the House of Representatives are reportedly considering a measure that would establish a federal cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Michigan readers may know that there is a cap in Michigan on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages refer to damages which are not readily measurable in monetary terms, and include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.
A recent study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago confirmed what has come to be increasingly obvious to many in the medical field: the threat of litigation doesn’t necessarily motivate physicians to do better work. The lead author of the study says, rather, that it is more likely to lead to the practice of defensive medicine.
Previously, we began looking at the issue of medical mishaps which occur in the context of routine medical procedures. As we noted, routine medical procedures, such as tonsillectomies, are by and large successful and occur without serious incident. In some cases, though, something unexpected occurs and the outcome is not a good one.