Does New York have a medical malpractice problem?

Every year, the state is among those with the highest number of medical malpractice cases. In 2008, for instance, New York and New Jersey were the only states that had more than 1,000 cases of medical malpractice filed. That year, New York had more than 4,000 cases, almost quadruple that of New Jersey.

And while medical malpractice cases dropped by significant margins in other states (more than 30 percent in Connecticut and New Jersey), the decline in New York was only one percent.

It’s not just the number of cases, it’s how many are leading to big payouts. New York joined just four other states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Florida) in paying out 48% of cases or more.

These numbers are significant and tell us several important things: first, New York has an above average, perhaps even abnormal, number of medical malpractice cases. And second, those numbers will only get more glaring compared to other states if the decrease in cases continues to drop by such a measly rate.

Whether this is a positive or negative for the state depends on which side of the case someone sits on. If a doctor, it’s a sign that insurance is sure to be high in a state that is already among the most expensive to live in. It’s also a sign that patients are more likely to be looking for errors and lawsuits are likely to be more frequent.

On the other hand, these statistics may be signs of a properly functioning system in which patients that have been harmed or killed due to medical malpractice are seeing their fair share of justice dolled out.

Medical error is the third most common cause of death in America, and though the percentage of errors that are due to malpractice are hard to estimate, it may be that New York’s numbers are closer to the truth than, say, those numbers coming from Kansas. There is any number of ways a doctor or other medical professional might make a mistake that could be deadly. And the fact lawyers are so keen upon this issue may not only be about the money, there is some justice to be sought out here.

Still, in all things related to health care, the cost of such issues must be considered. The more medical malpractice suits and the more suits that lead to payouts, the higher the cost of care will be for the consumer, and the higher the insurance will be as well.

Looking through that lens, New York does indeed have a medical malpractice problem, at least as much it has a health care affordability problem. Should health care reform take another step forward (or backward) in the coming years, malpractice suits may be a cost-saving element worth looking at.

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Medical Malpractice Facts You Ought To Know

People who are working in the medical profession follow the strictest professional standards and for an understandable reason. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are responsible for the lives of their patients. But just like any of us, they are just humans and can make mistakes. According to the website of a Sheboygan personal injury attorney, a minor medical error can have serious consequences for patients which could lead to injury or worse death.

According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey LLP, the professional responsibilities of doctors and other medical personnel are extremely important. Unfortunately, medical malpractice can happen to anyone and it can have a lasting impact on the lives of the patients and their families. Here are some facts about medical malpractice that is worth knowing:

  • The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the US after heart disease and cancer.
  • The top five areas of medical malpractice claims are diagnosis, surgery, treatment, obstetrics, and medication/anesthesia
  • More than 30% of doctors pay more than $10,000 worth of medical malpractice insurance
  • According to reports by the Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors have accounted for deaths of between 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients in the United States per year
  • Medical malpractice can be prevented. In fact, 8 out of 10 of the problems that occurred in the healthcare system were due to human error.
  • Only 1 out of 6 doctors with over five malpractice payouts have been disciplined by state medical boards
  • 4 out of 10 physicians revealed that their monthly patient care volume can result to mistakes
  • Preventable medical errors have caused injury or death to around 200,000 to 400,000 people
  • New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut registered the five highest medical malpractice payouts. On the other hand, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Mississipi, and Indiana have the lowest.
  • Healthcare spending for medical malpractice in the United States accounts for only 0.3 percent of healthcare spending. On the other hand, around $29 billion was spent for treating preventable medical errors.
  • There has been a steady decline in malpractice insurance premiums for doctors. In 2013, internists rates dropped to 1.6%, general surgeons by 1.3%, and OB-Gyn decreased by 1.7%.
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