The ruling may spark other states to only allow fact-based measures of tort reform
We've been saying it for years: Medical malpractice is not a significant factor in the rising cost of American health care. Since 2003, medical malpractice costs have decreased 28.2 percent, yet the cost of medical care has increased 58.2 percent.
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.
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.
A New York teen recently won a long legal battle against the hospital responsible for her cerebral palsy condition. The 17-year-old not only convinced the jury that she was the victim of hospital negligence as an infant, but she painted a clear picture of how cerebral palsy has impacted her life. You see the victim, Stephanie, has a twin sister who was born healthy, without disability.
In Michigan, victims of medical malpractice already face long odds for recovering any money damages. The chance of getting fully compensated for the harm inflicted upon them is even more remote. That is why it's mind-boggling that some state politicians are still lobbying for further medical malpractice law reform.
As Brett Norman reports for Politico, the everlasting heated exchange between the Republicans and the Democrats is likely to cause any further efforts at so-called tort reform to stall out - one side blames trial lawyers for "out-of-control" medical malpractice lawsuits, while the other side blames the profit motive inherent in running an insurance company. A tort reform bill supported by the Republicans is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Walter Olson, writing for the Cato Institute, argues that pain and suffering caused by medical malpractice is worth not one single penny. Were it not for what we have today in our civil justice system, Olson argues, pain and suffering wouldn't even enter into the equation, in large part because it's so difficult to measure the value of pain and suffering in any given case.
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