Medical Malpractice Myths and "Tort Reform"

The Medical Malpractice Myth - a book on medical malpractice injuries and tort reform

A new article in The New York Times, suggests New York City's public hospitals could be facing litigation for the wrongful death of cardiology patients after the discovery that at least 4,000 echocardiograms were never reviewed by doctors. The hospitals failed to have an adequate procedural system requiring doctors to review the tests, which monitor heart disease and abnormal heart function.

Medical negligence is one of the leading causes of death in the United States - believed to kill as many as 198,000 Americans per year (not counting prescription medication related deaths - another 98,000 deaths per year).  These numbers do not include the number of patients expected to die from injuries or illness, or those injured by medical treatment, but instead only represents the number of deaths due to carelessness by doctors and medical staff.

Given the seriousness of the problem, stories like this one in The New York Times, appear far too infrequently in papers across the country to fully inform Americans of the severity of the risks of death and injury from medical care. Despite the number of deaths from medical negligence, insurance companies (and politicians beholden to them) continue to claim all medical malpractice lawsuits are frivolous and instill fear in the American public that doctors are leaving their practice as a result of malpractice claims. Since the 1980s, politicians have attempted to scare the public into giving up their right to a jury trial, with damages determined by citizens in what is commonly referred to as "tort reform."  What citizens are not told is that big tobacco companies, asbestos companies, and other corporate polluters who may face liability, are behind the political movement to limit citizens' rights to determine liability when those companies hurt people.

The Medical Malpractice Myth, by Tom Baker, Director of the Insurance Law Center at University of Connecticut, disputes the claims about medical malpractice claims with facts. The book provides research proving the following:

  • Medical malpractice is an epidemic that causes thousands of deaths a year
  • Medical malpractice suits are rare, and are very rarely frivolous
  • Malpractice insurance premiums aren't unreasonably high
  • Rising insurance costs are not closely related to litigation, but instead aimed at increasing insurance company profits
  • Doctors are not leaving their practices as a result of negligence claims

Order The Medical Malpractice Myth and use the truth to combat tort reform campaigns aimed at having politicians control the right to trial by jury.