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A report issued last week by consumer watchdog group Public Citizen indicates that medical malpractice payouts reached all-time lows in 2008. Unfortunately, the decrease in malpractice payments does not appear to be related to advancements in patient safety, but rather to the fact that fewer injured patients are receiving fair compensation.

The report contains a number of stunning statistics. It is estimated that three to seven Americans die each year from medical malpractice for every one who receives payment on a malpractice claim. This is to say nothing of the patients who are injured, but do not die, as a result of medical malpractice. Even the victims who do ultimately prevail find themselves receiving lower payments for their injuries than in previous years.

Perhaps the most remarkable finding in the study is the overall cost of malpractice claims to the health care system. The cost of medical malpractice payouts accounts for 0.18 percent of the $2.1 trillion dollar American health care system. Even including all malpractice insurance premiums, the total is a paltry 0.6 percent of all national health care costs.

Medical malpractice remains as prevalent today as in previous years, yet the injured victims are receiving less and less compensation. Simply put, negligence is common and litigation is rare. Doctors and hospitals need to be held accountable for their carelessness. The cost to the system is minuscule compared to the cost to the individual victim seeking redress.


  1. Gravatar for Beverly Hall

    On August 28, 2007, a doctor, at Heritage Hospital, Taylor, MI, punctured my spinal cord during a cervical nerve block. She released cervical spinal fluid and a blood clot formed on my spinal cord requiring 'life-saving' surgery that evening. I was transferred to another hospital and a nuerosurgeon performed a

    7-hour sugery. The mistake made by this doctor left me paralyzed from the waist down. On November 12, 2007, my neurosugeon performed another a second sugery to reinforce my spine due to damage from the spinal cord injury on 8/28/07. I have irreversible neurological damage, very little leg balance, walk with a cane, extensive nerve damage to my left hand, I suffer with incontinence and bowel insurgence. Ironically, this same doctor killed another patient in 2004 performing the same procedure at another hospital. I had two different law firms try to help me but since death in my case did not occur and due to Michigan law my case would be considered an 'at-risk' chance that I took. I am unable to seek damages from what she did to me. I find this irrehensible that she changed my life for the worse, I can no longer work (I was a school secretary for 25 years) and I am now disabled. She continues to practice and can not be held accountable for what she did to me. How can the Michigan Supreme Courts call this justice?

  2. Gravatar for Steve Lombardi

    You are asking the right lawyer the answer to this question. Mr. Mittleman will have your answer.

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