I wanted to share a very good article that reveals some truths about medical malpractice in our country. It might be hoped that articles debunking the common myths about medical malpractice and “tort-reform” legislation would not still be necessary, but false beliefs have a tenacity that is sometimes hard to explain. Maybe it’s just that people tend to believe untrue things when the belief in those false things serves some other conscious or unconscious purpose. Nonetheless, belief in fairy tales is no basis for making laws that affect all of us when we visit a hospital or doctor’s office.
This article is important not just because it shows the falsity of these myths, but because of who wrote it and who published it. A physician and a professor collaborated to write an article entitled Five Myths of Medical Malpractice. In the article, the authors examine certain false beliefs – including the belief that the civil jury trial system delivers unusually high verdicts, and the belief that physicians move to states with damage caps (caps on the amount of money a person can receive in a malpractice case). These and a few other common falsehoods are exposed in detail and with plenty of supporting evidence.
It is also revealing that the journal Chest published this article. This is a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. My hope is that the physician-readers will study this article with an open mind and begin to at least wonder whether the whole “tort-reform” movement is simply a manufactured “crisis” that may serve insurance companies needs, but does nothing to help physicians and, more importantly, does nothing to make patients safer.