In a recent blog, I talked about the #1 myth surrounding why medical costs continue to go up – that myth being medical malpractice litigation. I spoke about the deception and lies that have caused most jurors and the average person to think that suing a doctor or a hospital when a preventable medical mistake takes place is wrong. Why????
Big business, insurance companies and medical groups have been hugely successful in causing all of us to focus on nonissues as it detracts from the true goal of working to resolve the safety issues that are in large part responsible for the increase in healthcare costs. Many people falsely believe that medical malpractice is a driving force behind the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. However, that’s simply not true. According to report after report, less than one-tenth of one percent of the United States total healthcare costs in 2012 resulted from claims paid in medical malpractice suits. Not only that, but in 2012, medical malpractice payouts were 3.4% lower than they were in 2011. When patients are harmed and they are not compensated, the cost of care is paid by all of us through Medicaid and Medicare payments. The responsibility should be placed with the responsible doctor or hospital or the insurance company that they hire to handle these claims. It should not be dismissed and passed on to the government to pay through public assistance which is exactly what happens when a medical mistake results in catastrophic harm and the injured party can’t afford to pay for the costs of care and the hospital and doctor convince the jury to excuse their mistakes. Ask yourselves why in the greatest nation in the world do we have so many people needlessly killed or harmed each year due to medical mistakes and why can’t we improve the healthcare system rather than punish the victims?
Casting blame on the victims of medical mistakes and the lawyers that they hire only detracts from the real issues, and prevent us from creating a healthcare system that is safer and prevents avoidable mistakes. Believe what you want, but keep an open mind to advancing safe medicine and improving healthcare and not advocating destroying the rights of the injured. We will continue to fight for what we know is right and hope that the number of medical mistakes and deaths caused by medical errors will be drastically reduced when we truly focus on the issues and not the myths.