The U.S. tort system as a solution to compensation for medical errors is an abysmal failure. It’s unfair to doctors and it’s unfair to patients.
Here are a few statistics to make the point:
- Every year 400,000 patients are killed by medical errors and even more are injured. But, less than 2% receive compensation through suits. 98% never file suits.
- 80% of suits against doctors fail.
- 50% of compensation awards are paid to lawyers.
- The average time from filing suit to winning compensation is 3.5 years.
The practice of “defensive medicine” is well known. The fear of suits has caused many doctors to order more tests than are necessary. Even the AMA estimates the unnecessary tests cost between $84 and %151 billion each year. Even worse is the effect on medical records: doctors make records “look good in court” by leaving out embarrassing details — making the job of…
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