Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Stricter Malpractice LawsMarch 7, 2017
When a patient is admitted to the hospital for surgery, his or her life is literally in the hands of the surgeon who is performing the procedure. Although the vast majority of surgeons are qualified and skilled, they are also human and capable of making mistakes. Those who support stricter medical malpractice laws believe that doctors will provide better care if they know that the laws make it easier for patients to sue. However, research suggests this may not be true. Instead, doctors may feel pressure to recommend unnecessary tests or treatment options in an effort to minimize the risk of malpractice litigation.
A team of researchers at the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine looked at medical malpractice premiums from 2010, including average award size and the number of claims for every 100 physicians. They also analyzed incidence rates of death, complications, or repeat surgeries within 30 days of the initial procedure for Medicare patients. There were approximately 890,000 Medicare recipients who were treated at close to 3,200 hospitals across the country. Half of the patients were aged 74 or older.
The research team found the following:
- More aggressive malpractice laws did not lower patients’ risk for postoperative complications included in the study.
- In the states that have stricter malpractice laws, patients were over 20% more likely to develop sepsis, 18% more likely to develop gastrointestinal bleeding, 15% more likely to suffer acute kidney failure, and nine percent more likely to develop pneumonia.
No Clear Link Between Malpractice Laws and Surgical Errors
While the results of this study do not prove how certain laws can be linked to specific outcomes, it does provide compelling evidence suggesting that tort reforms do not necessarily lead to improved outcomes. Contrary to popular belief, the pressure of stricter medical malpractice laws does not motivate doctors to achieve better patient outcomes. However, reforms that limit liability do not improve health outcomes either.
What is clear, according to a law professor at the University of Texas who was not involved in the study, is that the process is flawed. Too many patients continue to be injured by medical negligence.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Surgical Errors
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a surgical mistake, you are urged to contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers in Baltimore at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will closely review your medical records to determine whether your surgeon was negligent in any way. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to secure the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.