Maryland Malpractice Lawyers: Why Medical Malpractice Suits are Good for Everybody

Activists who seek to seek to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits ¾ for instance, by instituting caps on financial damages — often decry the negative consequences of our so-called litigious society. People are lawsuit-happy, they say, and the financial pressure that places on our health care system trickles down not only into higher costs, but also into compromised doctor-patient relationships. In that regard, the common wisdom is that fear of malpractice suits causes doctors to shut down communication with their patients, which, paradoxically, increases the possibility that the patient will receive inadequate care.

A recent op-ed article in the New York Times, however, turned that idea upside-down. First, the author reports that more than 80 percent of hospitals in one study have instituted a policy of openly admitting to and apologizing for errors as part of their patient relationships, many of them reporting that this new openness actually reduces the likelihood of lawsuits. Second, more than 95 percent of hospitals in the same study say they have improved their level of patient care by learning from information that was only revealed during medical malpractice litigation.

According to the article:

  • Risk managers and patient-safety personnel overwhelmingly report that lawsuit data have proved useful in efforts to identify and address error.
  • Despite various disclosure regulations, lawsuits sometimes identify errors that should have been reported but were not.
  • Even when errors have been reported, important details may be uncovered during the litigation process that hospitals can use for improvement.
  • Litigation records can be used as valuable teaching tools for medical personnel.

In their pursuit of patient protection, legal-reform advocates may be doing more harm than good. To learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits and your legal rights and to obtain legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney, contact the Maryland malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A..