Medical Malpractice Claims can Help Lead to Better Medical care

by John McKiggan

There’s an interesting article in today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal about how medical malpractice lawsuits help provide better medical care.

According to the article:

“Medical professionals are finding lessons in these and other past malpractice cases. By analyzing the breakdowns in care that led to missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses, insurers and health-care providers are developing programs to avert mistakes. . . . Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice suits, accounting for as many as 40% of cases and costing insurers an average of $300,000 per case to settle, studies of resolved claims show. Peter Pronovost, a patient-safety researcher at Johns Hopkins University, estimates that diagnostic errors kill 40,000 to 80,000 hospitalized patients annually, based on autopsy studies over the past four decades.”

The article quotes American statistics, but the issues are the same here in Canada. Medical errors kill up to 24,000 Canadians every year.

In fact, the Canadian Medical Protective Association issues a newsletter notifying doctors about medical negligence lawsuits across the country. The idea is that by educating doctors about mistakes made in cases that lead to a lawsuit, physicians can avoid making similar mistakes in other cases.

Litigation brings problems that might otherwise be hidden to light. Education and awareness helps prevent the problems from happening again.

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