Dispelling Malpractice Myths

For anyone concerned about the state of healthcare in this country (which is probably just about anyone), this column by the president of Johns Hopkins University is a must-read.

This is one passage that stood out for me:

A 1991 New England Journal of Medicine study found that nine out of 10 victims of disability-causing malpractice go uncompensated. That’s right — overwhelmingly, people harmed through medical mishaps are not compensated.

If the rate is anywhere near that high today, it’s no wonder the system is in trouble today. But he also provides more current information that’s even more troubling:

And a recent study by Harvard University researchers found that 80 percent of malpractice claims were filed against doctors who had made no error whatever.

Doctors simply can’t stay in business if 8 times out of 10 that a claim is filed, they haven’t done anything wrong.

Brody’s final paragraph is key:

A few new caps on liability costs aren’t going to solve the problem. It’s time we begin a comprehensive reform of the medical justice system.

So for anyone who thinks “tort reform” just means caps on liability, I hope they think instead about a broader solution.