New Primer Separates Myth and Facts of Medical Negligence and Patient Safety

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For Immediate Release: February 8, 2011

Contact: Ray De Lorenzi
202-965-3500 ext. 8369
media.replies@justice.org

New Primer Separates Myth and Facts of

Medical Negligence and Patient Safety

Summary of latest research and expert analysis released as House Judiciary Committee readies markup of extreme medical liability bill

Washington, DCAs the House Judiciary Committee prepares for tomorrow’s markup of its extreme medical liability bill, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) is releasing an extensive primer to dispel the myths of “tort reform” and underscore the importance of preventing medical errors and improving patient safety.

According to the Institute of Medicine, as many as 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, the sixth leading cause of death in America.  The bill introduced by House leadership (H.R. 5) not only ignores patient safety, but also imposes severe, one-size-fits-all caps on damages that patients can seek when injured by medical negligence, defective drugs, medical devices, or abuse suffered in nursing homes. It even extends this cap to health care providers that intentionally harm or kill patients, as well as insurance companies that refuse to pay just claims for medical bills.

“This bill is simply dangerous for patients. Eliminating legal accountability destroys any incentive to focus on the real problem – preventable medical errors and patient safety,” said AAJ President Gibson Vance.

The AAJ primer examines the latest research to counter many of the myths and distortions heard from those seeking to take away the legal rights of patients – such as the real costs of the medical negligence system, the frequency and validity of lawsuits, and the dangers patient may face if policies such as H.R. 5 are enacted.

“Medical Negligence: The Role of America’s Civil Justice System in Protecting Patients’ Rights” can be found at http://www.justice.org/resources/Medical_Negligence_Primer.pdf.

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