May 19, 2006

Malpractice Suits By the Numbers

Images2"I do not defend the present system at all," said Cliff Rieders, a personal injury lawyer. "I think money is wasted unbelievably." Smart man? A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,452 closed medical malpractice lawsuits and found 37 percent involved no medical error, and an additional 3 percent included no proof of injury. They also noted that the courts usually ruled against the plaintiffs in those cases and they didn't account for a large portion of medical malpractice costs. Read more. [The Patriot-News]

January 05, 2006

Illinois trumps Canada. And that’s not a good thing.

IlvscaThe numbers speak for themselves. There are approximately 14,000 physicians in Illinois physicians versus 68,000 in Canada. And the lawsuits quoted in Illinois are only for docs with liability insurance from ISMIE Mutual. And of all the legal actions commenced against physicians in Canada, only 125 legal claims went to trial. Seems like those Canucks need some lessons from their brash neighbors to the south.


Ward Health Strategies

The Medical Litigation Crisis, 2005 Illinois State Medical Society

Canadian Medical Protective Association, Annual Report 2003

December 20, 2005

The Economist weighs in

Spider We're happy to see the gamut of media outlets giving front page space to the real medical liability crisis. This week the venerable Economist lays it down in  "Doctors and drug firms in the dock." Though we're a little bothered by the tired reference to former trial lawyer and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards as "smooth," the piece is chock full o'Economist-worthy facts and figures and they give support to the innovative solution of health courts being pushed by Common Good. Here's a sampling of the numbers:

  • 76% of American obstetricians have been sued at least once

  • $228,396 ~ The average malpractice insurance premium paid by neurosurgeons in St. Clair County, Illinois in 2004. That's five times more than their colleagues in Wisconsin.

  • From 1975--2003 the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits has risen more than 2,000% to $26.5 billion, according to Tillinghast, an actuarial consultancy.

After the knockout figures, they breakdown the tangled financial mess this creates--from a family's soaring health care costs to General Motors' own financial woes. Read [The Economist]

About TMMS

  • ThisMakesMeSick answers renowned medical inventor Dr. Robert Fischell's wish to spread awareness (and outrage!) about the medical liability crisis that's ruining our healthcare system.

    Learn more...

What makes you sick?

  • We want to hear your thoughts and personal stories.

    Have you...

    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    • Faced a frivolous lawsuit?

    • Dealt with a doctor or a hospital who wouldn't take responsiblity for their actions?

    • Practiced defensive medicine?

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You don't say...

  • "This election destroyed a popular Karl Rove myth. The truth is that trial attorneys are winning, attacks on trial attorneys are backfiring and opponents of the civil justice system are losing."

    The CEO of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America said.

  • "We have discovered that virtually all patients are willing to sign a contract in which they agree not to sue their doctors on frivolous grounds."

    Jeffrey Segal, M.D, a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., said.

  • "Low-risk obstetrics has been done here for 60 years, but not anymore."

    Carl Hanson, chief operating officer of the county-run Minidoka Memorial Hospital in southern Idaho hospital's, explained as they get out of the baby business. Read

  • "I have children, and I don't know where they're at."

    Rosalinda Elison, a former patient at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s fertility clinic, said after learning that that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman who then gave birth to twins.

    Read more You Don't Say, here.

Crisis by numbers:

  • $4.6 million

    New York state grants available to expand the use of electronic medical records. Such initiatives have been hailed nationally as a way to cut medication errors, save money and improve patient safety. LINK

  • $700,000

    Amount raised by Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform to oppose malpractice limits in Arizona. LINK

  • $450,000

    Amount the Arizona Medical Association says Arizonans for Access to Health Care has raised to decide whether to push for montetary limits on lawsuits. LINK

    Read more CRISIS BY NUMBERS, here.

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