Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Improve Patient Safety, Part 2

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Last week, we discussed recent evidence that medical malpractice litigation has a consistently positive impact on American healthcare. This post picks up where we left off last time.

Another important factor is that doctors and hospitals are using information from lawsuits to identify problem areas in patient safety and make changes. This seems to be especially true with diagnostic and treatment errors – these are not well collected by other medical reporting systems, but are often the reason for medical malpractice lawsuits. 

Limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and even moving them outside the civil justice system, an approach advocated by some reformers, would reduce the data available to hospitals and medical providers as they seek to improve patient safety. In short, tort reformers appear to be less interested in improving patient outcomes and more interested in reducing the financial consequences of medical errors.

Ohio continues to be a place where injured patients and the families of those killed by medical negligence or mistakes can seek justice through the civil court system. However, tort reformers are always lobbying hard to change that. It’s important to identify the benefits of malpractice lawsuits and fight back against tort reform.

Source: New York Times, “Learning From Litigation,” by Johanna C. Schwartz, May 16, 2013.

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