Quotables: Medical Negligence

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Quotables: Medical Negligence 

“To me, conservatism shows due respect for a civil justice system that is rooted in the U.S. Constitution and is the greatest form of private regulation ever created by society. Conservatism is individual responsibility and accountability for damages caused, even unintentionally. It's about government closest to the people and equal justice with no special rules for anybody. It's also about respect for the common-law principle of right to trial by jury in civil cases that was incorporated into the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
-Fred Thompson in Knoxville News Sentinel, Jan. 29, 2011

“‘Despite their continued notoriety, rarely does a medical malpractice caseload exceed a few hundred cases in any one state in one year.’ NCSC data shows that medical malpractice lawsuits plummeted by about 15 percent between 1999 and 2008, according to the most recent data available. And that's without any help at all from Congress.”
-Mother Jones, Jan. 20, 2011

 “But studies suggest that defensive medicine creates less waste than many doctors believe — probably no more than about 3 percent of overall medical spending. And consumer advocates and lawyers say that patients injured by medical errors deserve compensation and that changes to the system should focus on promoting transparency and reducing mistakes.”
-CQ Today, Jan. 19, 2011

“‘We harm two patients a day in a significant way,’ says the report by Parkland's patient safety officer, Dr. Angelique Ramirez. It covers patients from October 2008 through December 2009 who suffered ‘prolongation of hospital stay, need for ICU care, permanent harm, or death.’ During one three-month period, 74 percent of such outcomes were deemed ‘potentially preventable.’”
-The Dallas Morning News, Nov. 14, 2010

"Each hospital, whether they publicly admit it or not, and whether or not it's discoverable in a lawsuit, has an episode of wrong-site or wrong-patient surgery either every year or once every few years,"
-Dr. Martin Makary, M.D. in Health.com, Oct. 18, 2010

“This means that four years after the state passed reform, health insurance for Ohio families in employer plans had gone up by 19 percent. That compared with a national average rise of nearly 22 percent during that time. While Ohio's cost hike was smaller, too many other factors go into health-care spending to conclude that the limits on lawsuits accounted for that difference, policy analysts say”
-The Plain Dealer, March 20, 2010

 “The CBO has also concluded that ‘so-called defensive medicine may be motivated less by liability concerns than by the income it generates for physicians or by the positive (albeit small) benefits to patients.’ And what about those irrevocably and traumatically affected by gross medical negligence? Big-money malpractice verdicts are reached for a reason: The facts are horrible and the victims have no other recourse.”
-The Huffington Post, Feb. 25, 2010

“And somebody who loses their life because of medical fault should have a court system that can give damages, depending on what the person's life expectancy was and the loss”
-Rep. Steve Cohen in Politico, Feb. 9, 2010

“[T]ort reform will not improve health care, as evidenced in Texas and California, frequently mentioned as ‘models’ for tort reform. Despite the most Draconian anti-patient laws in the nation, both states are among the highest in the nation in the percentage of uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and have the most expensive health care markets. Tort reform has not lowered costs or covered the uninsured, but it has prevented people injured through no fault of their own from seeking justice.”
-Baltimore Sun, Dec. 29, 2009

“The simple truth is that any reduction in the risk of civil liability would remove a critical safety incentive. Reducing medical errors is crucial, but neither placing arbitrary limits on the size of awards nor replacing the current malpractice system with health courts is the answer. . . . Congress has recognized that health care reform is long overdue. But dismantling the malpractice system should not be part of it.”
-Case Western law professors Max Mehlman and Dale Nance in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 15, 2009

“The truth is some Americans are injured by health-care workers. They contract infections when hospital workers don't wash their hands. They have the wrong foot removed in an amputation. They are victims of botched surgeries and negligent practitioners and preventable medical errors. These Americans have a right to pursue their complaints in the U.S. court system. Doctors do not deserve special protections from Congress in the event of such complaints.”
-Des Moines Register, Oct. 27, 2009

“’The bottom line is that [malpractice] tort reforms don’t work as well as proponents say they do,’ said Kathy Zeiler, a lawyer, economist and extensively published author on the subject of malpractice reform.  Zeiler pointed to studies on the effects of tort reforms over the last 30 years, saying the findings are conflicting and indicate only meager cost savings at best.”
-Politico, Oct. 6, 2009

 “The truth is that medical liability isn’t a big driver of health costs overall. [University of Melbourne’s David M] Studdert estimates the cost of malpractice litigation, in court and through defensive medicine, at roughly 2% to 3% of all U.S. healthcare spending -- in other words, no more than $50 billion out of a total annual bill of $1.7 trillion. (You'll hear estimates as high as $200 billion from outfits like the American Medical Assn., which is the antithesis of an objective source.)”
-Los Angeles Times Columnist, Michael Hiltzik, Oct. 1, 2009

“The threat of medical malpractice lawsuits cuts down on health spending in one important way. It puts pressure on medical professionals to avoid common medical errors -- such as transmitting infections that could be avoided through hand-washing -- that drive up costs and even kill people. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that at least 44,000 and maybe as many as 98,000 people die each year from medical mistakes in hospitals.”
-Anchorage Daily News, Sept. 29, 2009

“The reality is that doctors have a host of different motivations as they manage care. Worried patients frequently demand every available scan or treatment, particularly if insurance helps cover the cost. And doctors themselves often have financial incentives to order tests and procedures.”
-Raleigh News & Observer, Sept. 27, 2009

“Many physicians argue that the threat of a malpractice lawsuit prods them into ordering extra treatments and tests. Texas addressed this in 2003 with a constitutional amendment capping noneconomic damages in malpractice suits at $250,000. Malpractice insurance premiums have dropped, but the cost of medical care hasn’t. Dallas doctors are still ordering extra treatments.”
-Dallas Morning News, Sept. 20, 2009

“The Institute of Medicine, an independent adviser to the government, estimates that as many as 100,000 Americans die yearly from medical mistakes. But only about 4% of injured patients or their families sue, according to a Harvard study. And only 1 in 5 lawsuits awards the patient. ‘The amazing thing is that more patients don’t sue,’ says Paul H. Keckley, director of Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions.”
-BusinessWeek, Sept. 16, 2009

“Insurance rates and health care costs have continued to rise, even though…state reforms include[d] the sort of jury award caps that Republicans in Washington have long argued are the cure for the problem.”
-Politico, Sept. 15, 2009

“[F]ew economists believe tort reform by itself — even the most radical tort reform — would significantly reduce what Americans spend on health care...Many opponents of Mr. Obama’s reform plans point to tort reform as a kind of silver bullet to reducing health care costs. Like many of their claims, the facts don't bear that out.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial, Sept. 15, 2009

“The question of whether the medical malpractice climate contributes to the nation’s health-care spending has been examined by government agencies and academic researchers. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the federal Government Accountability Office have concluded in recent years that the link between medical liability and health costs is scant.”
 -Washington Post, Sept. 10, 2009

“Whatever you think about the issue, tort reform being the crown jewel of Republican cost control on healthcare says a lot about the intellectual bankruptcy of the party.”
-Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, Sept. 10, 2009

“Numerous independent analyses have shown that malpractice lawsuits contribute a tiny fraction to the cost of health care.”
-Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2009

“[S]pecial interests and their lackeys portray ‘tort reform’ as some sort of magical elixir that will instantly drive costs way down. Except it won’t. That’s not me saying so. It’s the Congressional Budget Office — the one run during the Bush administration under Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert.”
-Orlando Sentinel Columnist Scott Maxwell, Sept. 6, 2009
 
“[I]t’s a red herring. It’s become a talking point for those who want to obstruct change. But [tort reform] doesn’t accomplish the goal of bringing down costs.”
- Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School Prof. Tom Baker to the New York Times, Aug. 31, 2009

“I come from a strong insurance background and I don’t think eliminating all the trial lawyers and eliminating people’s right to bring actions when they’ve been wronged is the answer. You probably wouldn’t expect that from me, but people have to have a safety net and a system in situations where good people do bad things or where bad people are operating in an environment that’s not good for consumers.”
-Missouri Insurance Director Even Huff to McClatchy Newspapers, Aug. 28, 2009

“[T]he push for tort reform rests largely on anecdotal evidence of the occasional large jury verdict or outrageous lawsuit. Despite the perception that ‘jackpot justice’ has fueled soaring costs, hard data yield a much different picture.”
-McClatchy Newspapers, Aug. 28, 2009

“If you were to list the top five or ten things that you could do to bring down health care costs, [tort reform] would not be on the list.”
-Harvard Law and Public Health Professor Michelle Mello to Washington Independent, Aug. 18, 2009


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