Every profession has its bad apples and physicians are no exception. Six percent of doctors are responsible for nearly 60% of medical negligence. The civil justice system is the only effective means for holding them accountable since state disciplinary mechanisms are woefully inadequate.
Preventable medical errors kill or seriously injure hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. One in three Americans say that they or a family member has experienced medical error and one in five say that a medical error has caused either themselves or a family member serious health problems or death. The civil justice system holds doctors, hospitals and insurance companies accountable
According to the Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors kill as many as 98,000 Americans every year and injure countless more. If the Center for Disease Control were to include preventable medical errors as a category, it would be the sixth leading cause of death in America.
Research also shows that patients actually file claims because they are seeking answers and sometimes litigation is the only way to uncover what transpired. Despite the shocking number of medical errors, very few injured patients ever file a medical negligence lawsuit, and even fewer file frivolous claims
Research at the Harvard Medical School has found that 18% of patients in hospitals are injured during the course of their care and many of those injuries are life threatening or even fatal.
Far from looking for a jackpot, research shows that patients file claims because they are seeking accountability, and too often patients injured by preventable medical errors are left in the dark about what happened to them. Hospital and health systems that have embraced full disclosure of medical errors to patients have found that the number of medical negligence claims and their related costs declined.
Research shows that most injured patients just want to know what went wrong in the course of their treatment. Sometimes the only way to do this is through the discovery process of a lawsuit
Fellows Hymowitz Rice will use the civil justice system to hold doctors, hospitals and insurance companies accountable. It is accountability that develops patient safety systems and helps prevent negligence before it occurs. Hospitals, health care systems and entire medical fields have reformed dangerous practices because of the civil justice system. Without a system that enforces responsibility, there is rarely ever any voluntary accountability.
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