Medical Malpractice is About Patient Safety

The passage of legislation in North Carolina that makes emergency room doctors immune from the civil justice system is not reform. Rather, it restricts patients’ rights to pursue justice when they are injured by medical negligence and error. Furthermore, such legislation does nothing to address healthcare reform and patient safety.
Costs related to medical malpractice account for less than 1% of national healthcare costs. University of Pennsylvania Professor Tom Baker, a leading authority on medical malpractice litigation, called the malpractice lawsuit crisis “…urban legend mixed with the occasional true story, supported by selected references to academic studies.” (Baker, Tom, The Medical Malpractice Myth, 2005).
Medical malpractice has become an easy target and scapegoat for those who want to protect insurance companies rather than improve patient safety. So-called “frivolous” medical malpractice cases are virtually non-existent because of the costs associated with bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Most states require that any medical malpractice case pass a rigorous medical review conducted by medical experts before a lawsuit is ever filed.
It’s time our elected offiicals concentrate on the real crisis in healthcare-patient safety.