Medical Malpractice: A Comprehensive Analysis

Medical Malpractice: A Comprehensive Analysis

Medical Malpractice: A Comprehensive Analysis

Medical Malpractice: A Comprehensive Analysis

Synopsis

The healthcare delivery system in the United States is inundated with medical malpractice and liability issues, and there is no consensus about causes or solutions. Both physicians and an alliance of lawyers and consumer groups agree that there is a crisis, but physicians claim that the current malpractice system inheres in too many lawsuits while the lawyers argue that the current level of litigation is too low. Multivariate statistical methods are used in this much-needed effort to investigate the effects of medical malpractice on various aspects of health care.

Excerpt

There has been an ongoing medical malpractice crisis in the United States starting from around the 1840s. The targets of malpractice lawsuits in the 1840s were physicians with diplomas. Malpractice lawsuits are filed to recover the costs of injuries resulting from a treatment that deviates from the standard of care. Since quacks did not follow a standard of care, they practiced medicine with immunity from lawsuits, and since they did not have so-called deep pockets, it was not profitable for anyone to sue them. Physicians complained about quitting practicing medicine because of the liability system then as they continue to do today. However, there are significant changes in the circumstances. Licensure requirements have driven out quacks. Despite competition from nurse practitioners and physician assistants, physicians dominate the health care system. The big brother, managed care, is trying to impose its own control. Still, targets of malpractice lawsuits continue to be physicians. There is no consensus about the cause of the medical malpractice liability. Several factors are likely to be responsible. Physicians blame lawyers and the contingency fee system. Lawyers and consumer groups blame physicians for negligently causing too many injuries. Others blame insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). According to physicians, we have too many lawsuits and we have a malpractice crisis on hand. According to lawyers and consumer groups, we have too few lawsuits and we have a malpractice crisis on hand. It really does not matter who is right. Politics will decide how the tort game will be played. Even though the physician liability system has been receiving a great deal of attention, about 1 in 7 Americans are without health insurance. It is

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