Medical practices in the United States have improved dramatically over the last few decades. The number of new diseases and cures doctors have discovered has increased exponentially. Unfortunately, like the number of new discoveries, the number of medical malpractice suits that are filed has increased exponentially also. Medical malpractice law suits are a major problem and need to be capped and regulated by the government.
Physicians fear and expect malpractice suits. Often they happen more than once to every physician. Just because a physician has been sued does not make them bad. Some physicians in high risk fields such as surgery and obstetrics are often sued every six years. Surgeons have to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 a year in medical malpractice insurance premiums, since they are so likely to get sued. Physicians are forced to buy malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance rates are incredibly high, to cover physicians for when a lawsuit is filed.
Physicians practice defensive medicine, or the ordering of unnecessary tests, to prevent being sued for malpractice. Reports say that 18 -28% of all tests done are to prevent law suits. Many doctors are afraid to admit mistakes, in fear of being sued, so if they make a mistake they will not ask for help to fix the mistake, therefore they will not learn from their mistake.
Lawyers make 30% to 50% of the amount of money won from cases. This promotes lawyers to look for "victims", or people to claim they have gained injuries from doctors. This puts the court system into disarray and prevents people with true claims from getting the legal help they need.
Patients are allowed to sue for obscure situations. For example a pediatrician was sued after an infant underwent a routine two month check up, then later that week died of sudden infant death syndrome, even though sudden infant death happens with out warning. In another case, after a woman under went life saving pancreatic cancer surgery, she sued for a pain in her arm that she blamed on the medicine the physician gave her.
States that impose a medical malpractice suit cap tend to have more physicians. Many states have enacted a $250,000 cap on non – economical malpractice suits. Malpractice insurance rates are much lower, so the states attract many new physicians. Also different specialties in the medical field that have lower malpractice suit, or insurance, rates seem to attract more physicians.
If malpractice suit caps were put in place, more Americans could access health care. It would be cheaper, therefore easier for people to access. Physicians would not fear being sued, so they would be less likely to perform defensive medicine.
Medical malpractice suits are a very extreme problem in our country. There is an answer to help the problem in our country: the government should regulate, and cap the amount of a medical malpractice suit. It will have a positive effect on many parts of the health care and judiciary system: help lower the overall cost of health care and take some of the stress off the judiciary system, and cause there to be less scam cases.
The Green Giant