Malpractice Editorial Version 2.0

Medical malpractice lawyers, victims’ advocacy groups, doctors (and their lobbyists) and insurance companies have produced a heretofore unprecedented spate of editorials on medical malpractice reform in the last few months. Even I’m bored with it.

But this editorial in Salon is a little different because the message – that medical malpractice tort reform is not the answer – comes from a pediatrician. The doctor methodically and concisely attacks the premises behind the tort reform movement, including the idea that there is a pandemic of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits:

Instead of a swamp of frivolous lawsuits, what the data shows is a system that functions. Insubstantial claims tend to collapse, while the medical industry usually opts to pay off injured patients instead of going to trial. The doctors and the insurers choose to fight to win when they think they can, and when there is enough money at stake, and usually do win.

Certainly, the fact that it is coming from a doctor does not make it so. But it certainly lends a different authenticity.

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