On December 27, 2016, the Baltimore Sun published a commentary entitled “Ban medical malpractice lawsuits” that was written by someone whose qualifications to propose such included his PhD in chemical engineering and his retirement from Dupont in 1985.
The commentator wrote, “Abolishing the right of patients in the United States to sue hospitals and doctors would change the relationship between doctors and their patients. This could have a favorable effect on health care in addition to greatly reducing costs.”
The commentator goes on to espouse, “Medical malpractice suits should not be allowed. Does it matter whether an unfortunate medical outcome was caused by a doctor’s error or by the failure of medicine to have learned how to successfully treat a given medical condition? In either case, the patient, if still living, should be given needed health care at no extra cost, which currently does not happen. Doctors or other health workers suspected of malpractice should be investigated by a committee of their peers and, if guilty, appropriately disciplined.”
Readers of the Baltimore Sun may blindly accept the commentator’s false and scandalous statement that “[t]he cost of tests for defensive medicine has been estimated at $700 billion a year. Moreover, some of the testing done for defensive medicine may be detrimental to the patient’s health.”
It is shameful that the Baltimore Sun published this commentary without fact-checking.
A recent study suggests that defensive medicine represents 2.9% of the spending on health care in the United States on a yearly basis (approximately $78 billion of the $2.7 trillion spent on U.S. health care annually), primarily as a result of additional hospital stays.
Another recent study concluded that “defensive medicine is [not] a driver of rising health-care costs. Additionally, comparing Medicare reimbursements, premedical and postmedical tort reform, we found no consistent effect on health-care expenditures. Together, these data indicate that medical tort reform seems to have little to no effect on overall Medicare cost savings.”
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion regarding issues that face us in the United States today. However, when someone spews false “facts” that may affect the formation of opinions by others on important social and legal issues, it is the obligation and the duty of sources of public information such as the Baltimore Sun to check the facts and to not allow utterly false information to be disseminated as facts, even if the published information is captioned as a “commentary.”
And, yes, it does matter “whether an unfortunate medical outcome was caused by a doctor’s error or by the failure of medicine to have learned how to successfully treat a given medical condition.” The former may be caused by medical malpractice (i.e., a breach of the standard of care by the doctor that caused the patient to suffer harm) and the latter is simply circumstances beyond the ability of present-day medicine to successfully diagnose and treat; the former is a failure to provide appropriate medical care that is the doctor’s “fault” for which the doctor should be financially responsible because it was within the doctor’s education, experience, and knowledge (i.e., within the doctor’s control) to provide appropriate care, which he failed to do.
Wake up Baltimore, wake up Maryland, and wake up America to the unjustified and spurious attacks on the rights of medical malpractice victims before medical malpractice “reforms” eviscerate your right to be fairly compensated for the harm you suffer due to the medical negligence of others.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical care (or the lack of medical care) in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in Baltimore, a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click on the “Contact Us Now” tab to the right, visit our website, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.
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