New York Law School’s Center for Justice and Democracy has just released an updated version of the book Medical Malpractice: By the Numbers.
The book, last updated in December 2013, looks at such topics as medical malpractice litigation, health-care costs and “defensive medicine,” physician supply and access to health care, medical malpractice insurance, patient safety, and special problems for veterans and military families.
The Center for Justice and Democracy issued a press release highlighting some of the new findings presented in the book, including the following facts:
- Medical malpractice insurance companies are making twice the profit of the entire property/casualty insurance industry.
- After the state of Texas enacted stringent limits on medical malpractice lawsuits (which included caps on damages), rates of preventable errors rose “consistent with hospitals gradually relaxing (or doing less to reinforce) patient safety standards.”
- “On any given day, approximately one in 25 patients has at least one infection contracted during the course of their hospital care.”
- “Despite a slew of news accounts about patients being set on fire in operating rooms across the country, adoption of precautionary measures has been slow, often implemented only after a hospital experiences an accident.”
- “At least eight doctors whose medical licenses were suspended or revoked collectively billed Medicare more than $7 million in 2012.”
- “An average of 103,000 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and health care aides a year were abusing or dependent on illicit drugs.”
- Military hospitals are even less safe than civilian hospitals.
- Medical malpractice premiums are not rising.
- When asked their main reason for leaving New York state, newly trained physicians cited the “cost of malpractice insurance” practically dead last on a list of many factors, while “proximity to family” topped the list as most important reason to leave the state.
The book is available for download at no cost at http://centerjd.org/content/briefing-book-medical-malpractice-numbers.
Ann W. Latner, JD, a former criminal defense attorney, is a freelance medical writer in Port Washington, N.Y .