Fear Of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Not Tied To High Healthcare Costs

Fear Of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Not Tied To High Healthcare Costs

When a physicians or other health care providers act carelessly or recklessly, such as making a preventable medical mistake, they may be found guilty of medical malpractice and required to pay damages for any harm that occurs as the result of their actions (or inaction.)

Whether a health care provider is determined to have committed medical malpractice centers on whether the conduct in question breaches the requisite "standard of care" for the particular circumstance.

A long-standing argument has been that due to the fear of medical malpractice judgments, doctors have practiced "defensive medicine," ordering unnecessary and expensive tests, and that this in turn has driven up the costs of health care. However, as a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has demonstrated, this is a fallacy. Rather, the study concluded that doctors are "less motivated by legal risk than they themselves believe." In fact, when the fear of lawsuits is severely diminished – as it has been in states that have enacted medical malpractice reforms that curtail victim's rights to file lawsuits except in the most egregious cases – the conduct of physicians remains the same. Doctors still favor resource-intensive and expensive tests and diagnostic tools such as CT or MRI scans.

The study performed by Rand concluded that litigation against doctors has been a scapegoat for rising health care costs. Researchers concluded, ""Our results suggest that malpractice reform may have less effect on costs than has been projected."

At Bostwick & Peterson, our San Diego medical malpractice lawyers are committed to ensuring you obtain the justice you deserve if you or a family member has been harmed as the result of negligent medical care. For more information, please contact our dedicated San Diego personal injury law firm for an immediate, confidential consultation.


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