Archive for September, 2015

Medical Malpractice: Fight Medical Error Not Regulation

By admin

Monday, September 14th, 2015

With the stalling of NY State’s Lavern’s law – a bill which addressed the statue of limitations for victims of medical malpractice – our focus is once again drawn to the fact that as long as hospitals, doctors and insurance companies block legislation and fight regulation patients will remain in peril.

It seems that every time researchers estimate how often a medical mistake contributes to a hospital patient’s death, the numbers come out worse. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous “To Err Is Human” report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted ubiquitously in the media.

In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services said that bad hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year.

Most recently a study from the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher — between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.

That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of some 400,000 people each year. Doctors and hospitals are doing a poor job of policing themselves, yet they have been successful at keeping anyone else from doing it.

A 2013 study concluded that despite the frequency of avoidable errors, very few wind up as medical malpractice lawsuits. “Some say there are lots of frivolous lawsuits, but lawyers would be fools to take on a frivolous case,” says Barry Furrow, director of the Health Law Program at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University. Furrow says attorneys can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on discovery fees — the costs of gathering facts and evidence to support claims — but in the end, they earn only a percentage of the winnings. And even if a victim wins a medical malpractice lawsuit the awards are generally modest. Thirty-three states restrict the amount of compensation for pain and suffering the victims have endured.

Despite these facts, the American public remains unaware of just how serious the medical error problem is and equally concerning is the fact that many Americans still blame lawyers and the civil justice system for the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits and the cost of medical care. The problem is not limiting injured people‘s statute of limitations, or what they may collect, but instead keeping the negligent act from happening in the first place. Americans already pay a lot for medical care and they should be getting what they pay for not the 3rd leading cause of death in America.

For more information visit our website at www.pralaw.com or if you believe you or your love ones have been the victim of medical error contact our office at 800-432-LAWS (5297).