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Medical malpractice under the microscope

Doctors live in constant fear of medical malpractice suits. The overburdened medical system , along with skyrocketing costs of medical care has been the perfect storm for a change in how medical malpractice claims are handled. Legislators across the nation have raised the level of negligence required to sustain a medical malpractice claim, however,studies show this change has had little effect on the number of claims or the costs of litigation. The Rand Corporations, a California based research firm, has released a study focusing on the effect of three states new medical malpractice standard, the research has returned surprising results.

Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, have set the standard for medical malpractice to gross negligence; essentially, a doctor had to know the care he was providing would be improper, and provide the care anyway. The changes were an attempt to curb the staggering costs of medical malpractice litigation, recognizing the high-intensity environment medical professionals work in. The driving force behind the law is an attempt to reduce defensive medicine; namely doctors ordering extra, more expensive, tests. The theory states, Doctors order these tests with the hopes of ensuring they will not be later sued for misdiagnosis or for failure to provide proper care. However, many of these test are unnecessary and do little more than bloat the medical system.

This is just a theory, in fact, doctors were not ordering these tests, the Rand Corporation tests has shown. Doctors seem to be less motivated by legal risks than conventional wisdom would have you believe. The study focused on three metrics; ordering of advanced imaging studies, inpatient admissions following Emergency Room Visits and the total charge for these visit, the test compared results to neighboring state, only to find the difference de minimis. There are many other factors contributing to the numbers, however, according to the study, these new legislative measures do nothing to curb medical malpractice suits.

It’s a scary thought going under the knife, or having something as simple as a broken arm turn into a month long hospital stay because your physician couldn’t be bothered enough to dispense proper medical care. Our attorneys at Meyerkord & Kurth have years of experience dealing with complex medical malpractice claims, from insurance companies to the physicians themselves, we are here to fight for you. If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice, give us a call at (314) 300-3000 or (800) 391-4318 for a no-obligation assessment of your potential malpractice claim

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