Here is a link to a new report by the American Association for Justice called Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights which discusses many of the claims advanced by tort reformers in suport of measures to limit the rights of victims of malpractice.
Here are some highlights of the report:
-- A large body of research now indicates that many of the common perceptions about medical negligence are little more than myths.
-- According to the Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors kill as many as 98,000 Americans everyyear, and injure countless more. If the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were to include preventable medical errors as a category, it would be the sixth leading cause of death in America.
-- Despite the shocking number of medical errors, few injured patients ever file a medical negligence lawsuit, and fewer still file frivolous claims.
-- The savings from preventing medical errors run into billions of dollars. The savings from restricting patients’ access to justice, however, are negligible.
-- Medical negligence costs amount to less than two percent of health care spending, and government economists estimate restricting all patients’ compensation would only lower health care costs by less than one-half of one percent or less.
-- Limiting patients’ rights does nothing but fill the coffers of malpractice insurance companies.
-- Anecdotal accounts of doctors fleeing states in response to increased insurance premiums have proved to be either unrepresentative isolated events, or flat out false. In fact, data from the American Medical Association (AMA) show that physician numbers have been increasing across the board for many years.
-- The number of physicians per 100,000 population is significantly higher in states without [damages] caps.