Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Chris has been posting a series on Medical Malpractice: Actors, Flaws and Reforms. (Second post in series here). In an article yesterday, Forbes reported on "Reasons Not To Become A Doctor." Forbes identifies malpractice lawsuits as one of the reasons:
[G]etting sued by a patient is a major concern. Of course, doctors who make fatal mistakes and who are unqualified should be held responsible. But there's evidence that the bulk of lawsuits brought are frivolous. Of all malpractice lawsuits brought to jury trial in 2004, the defendant won 91% of the time. Only 6% of all lawsuits go to trial; those that aren't thrown out are settled. Only 27% of all claims made against doctors result in money awarded to the plaintiff, according to [Lawrence] Smarr, president of the trade association for medical malpractice companies.
Regardless, doctors need to defend themselves against the possibility of damages--and that's an extremely expensive proposition. It takes about four-and-a-half years from the start of a lawsuit to the end, and the average cost to the defense in legal fees was $94,284 in 2004, according to the American Medical Association.