The Practice of Uncertainty: Voices of Physicians and Patients in Medical Malpractice Claims

The Practice of Uncertainty: Voices of Physicians and Patients in Medical Malpractice Claims

The Practice of Uncertainty: Voices of Physicians and Patients in Medical Malpractice Claims

The Practice of Uncertainty: Voices of Physicians and Patients in Medical Malpractice Claims

Synopsis

Incorporating in-depth interviews, statistical data, and prior studies, Fielding illustrates how modern medicine is a victim of its own success. The historical record since the early 19th century shows that the rate of malpractice claims has increased as medicine developed new and more complex procedures. Fielding integrates macro- and micro-levels of analysis to explain how scientific medicine is inherently prone to adverse outcomes no matter how competent medical provisions are and how patients often feel their personal experiences and views are marginalized during the course of their medical care. This combination makes it more likely that patients will sue when something goes wrong.

Excerpt

The malpractice problem counts as one item on the list of reasons why U.S. health care is unique. From an international perspective, no other country has experienced the raw and dispiriting processes that Stephen Fielding documents in this pathbreaking book. All other countries, whether economically developed or less developed, have either worked out arbitration systems to prevent the adversarial approach adopted in the United States, or have not moved nearly so far along the path of litigation as a way to deal with the inevitability of medical mistakes. Along with the lack of universal access provided through a national health care program, the enormously high proportion of gross domestic product devoted to health care (approaching 15 percent), the proportion of health care expenditures devoted to administration as opposed to clinical services (about 25 percent), and the unprecedented corporatization of care (for instance, nearly 80 percent of insured U.S. citizens covered by managed care, and not a single not-for-profit managed care organization founded since 1989), the malpractice problem distinguishes our health care system from those of all other societies.

Fielding goes further than prior researchers in detailing the anguishing processes of distrust and recrimination that have come to typify medicine in the United States. While several important studies of malpractice have appeared during the 1990s, they have focused on the statistical frequency and predictors of medical errors and subsequent lawsuits, rather than . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.