Who Pays for Medical Mistakes?

Several thought-provoking letters to the editor in the New York Times address this issue in the context of the current health care reform battle. One of the letters is from Patrick Malone and says:

To the Editor:

The reason malpractice is expensive and burdensome is not any unfairness in the system, but because too many patients are being hurt every day in a system that has failed to use basic safety checklists that have made injuries rare in other high-risk industries.

When the hospital industry’s own two-year pilot project to improve safety is called the Five Million Lives Campaign, we can see that the true urgency of reform lies in safety and quality.

“When the right care is delivered to the right patient at the right time, every time” is how Elizabeth A. McGlynn, a RAND Corporation researcher, defined quality care. And when we achieve that, malpractice lawsuits will no longer be the “burden” that some doctors perceive. Patrick Malone
Chevy Chase, Md., June 17, 2009
The writer is a lawyer and the author of “The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care – and Avoiding the Worst.”

Another Times letter writer makes the point that we should have public report cards on hospitals and doctors that would give patients basic safety and quality information so we could make intelligent choices about who cares for us. That’s an idea worth doing.

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
Washingtonian Top Lawyer 2011
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