Watch this tragic charade for yourself!
Medical malpractice lawsuits, often described as "lawsuit abuse" or "frivolous lawsuits" are frequently described by the right as a serious problem.
For example, in the hearings today, I heard a number of calls to restrict medical malpractice awards.
Despite the huge amount of money and energy being spent by lobbyists and special interests to convince us that medical malpractice suits are to blame for the skyrocketing costs of healthcare,
nothing could be farther from the truth.
A new report: The 0.6 Percent Bogeyman: Medical Malpractice Payments Fall to All-Time Low as Health Care Costs Continue to Rise shows the depths to which the insurance, drug and hospital industries will go to deceive the American public and divert them from addressing the real causes of increases in health care costs.
The total cost of medical litigation and malpractice insurance premiums- of which damage awards are only a part, has fallen to AN ALL TIME LOW of 0.6% as a percentage of total medical costs.
LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.
Please read on..
Number of Medical Malpractice Payments Made on Behalf of Physicians, 1991-2008
|Year||Number of Payments||Number of Payments per 1 Million People (U.S. Population)|
Frivolous? Hardly - even the most aggressive defense lawyers would not say that of almost all plaintiffs in malpractice cases:
"But even those who favor limiting patients’ rights, such as well‐known Washington lawyer Victor Schwartz, acknowledge that frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits are uncommon.
"There is no question that it is very rare that frivolous suits are brought against doctors. They are too expensive to bring," Schwartz said in 2004, when the fury over medical malpractice litigation was at its peak.2 In fact, the data thoroughly contradict myths about a prevalence of medical malpractice payoffs for inconsequential harms.
The vast majority of payments compensate victims or their families for injuries that no one would call frivolous. Nearly two‐thirds (65 percent) of medical malpractice payments in 2008 compensated for negligence resulting in "significant permanent injury," "major permanent injury," quadriplegia, brain damage or the need for lifelong care, or death.
More than four‐fifths (83 percent) of the total value of malpractice payments last year compensated for these very serious consequences. "Insignificant injury" and "emotional injury only," the two ostensibly least serious injuries, accounted for between 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent of dollars paid in 2008. Not surprisingly, the four most serious categories posted the highest mean and median payments by significant margins."
"Yet despite the shocking frequency of serious
medical errors and the surprising infrequency with
which the victims or their families pursue redress in
court, Congress commits far more attention to the
mythical excess of lawsuits concerning medical
negligence than to the negligence itself. In the
current debate over health care reform, some are
calling once again to restrict patients’ legal
remedies even though medical malpractice
litigation has fallen to the lowest level on record.
The number of malpractice payments in 2008 was
the lowest since the creation of the federal
government’s National Practitioner Data Bank,
which has tracked medical malpractice payments
since 1990. This was not an aberration. Last year
was the third consecutive year in which the number
of medical malpractice payments sunk to an all‐time
low. The cumulative value of malpractice payments
(as distinct from the number of payments) in 2008
was either the lowest or second‐lowest on record,
depending on how one adjusts for inflation.
Medical malpractice litigation’s share of overall
health care costs, which always has been minuscule,
has fallen to less than 0.6 percent even under the
most liberal definition. This figure encompasses
insurance companies’ overhead and profits, as well
as their litigation costs and the sum of actual
payments made to victims. Actual medical
malpractice payments have fallen to less than 0.2
percent of all health costs – the lowest level on
Almost ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine published a groundbreaking study on medical errors
"To Err is Human". "To Err is Human" made a great number of recommendations for our healthcare system, Those recommendations have largely been ignored.
"State and federal policy makers should not take
comfort in the declines in medical malpractice
litigation. Rather than pointing to safer medical
care, the reduction in payments almost certainly
means that there are ever more malpractice victims
not receiving compensation – and fewer incentives
for doctors and nurses to reduce errors.
Despite the politically charged hysteria surrounding
medical malpractice litigation, the percentage of
malpractice victims who actually pursue damages is