Monday, April 29, 2013

Switch To No Fault Medical Injury Instead Of Malpractice And Lower Medical Injury And Death Rates From Non-Negligent Causes

Posted by Milton Recht:

From John Goodman's Health policy Blog, "Malpractice Law Is Bad for Your Health" by John Goodman:
Ironically, the medical malpractice system is inordinately focused on whether someone was at fault when an injury or accident occurs. Of the estimated 187,000 deaths (NCPA estimate based on NEJM and NCBI) and 6 million injuries that occur in hospitals each year, only an estimated one in four are considered negligent (malpractice) — and the actual number is probably much lower than that. Another 30 percent (such as certain types of infections) are judged to be “preventable,” even though no one is guilty of negligence. Almost half of adverse medical events are “acts of God” — no one was at fault and there is no obvious way of preventing them.

Here’s the problem. When we focus exclusively on malpractice and do nothing about the other categories of adverse events, doctors will do things that reduce malpractice events but increase the risk of some other type of injury. For example, doctors can reduce their malpractice risk by ordering more tests. But each of these tests carries a risk of hospital-acquired infections and other adverse consequences.