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Medical Error Reduction Not Medical Malpractice Reform Is the Key to Reducing Health Care Costs

I saw an article in the Connecticut Post today called “Health Care Bills Sidestep Medical Errors Issue.” The article points out that the current health care legislation being considered by Congress takes only “modest steps” to address medical neglect or medical error. The article correctly points out that this issue is more deadly that inadequate medical insurance.

In its August 2009 comprehensive report on the issue, entitled Dead by Mistake, Hearst concluded that approximately 200,000 Americans die, every year, from preventable medical mistakes and that tools to fight these needless deaths are not utilized at many hospitals.

As my readers know, many pro-business, anti-justice concerns would ignore doctors’ errors and ignore doctors’ own glaring admissions that they perform unnecessary tests. These concerns would rather take trial lawyers and victims to task, instead. Crying “lawsuit abuse” or “tort reform”, they would rather limit our recovery rights in or our access to the courts rather than do anything to reduce the number of medical errors and the staggering human and financial cost that results from them. Tort law changes would only save 0.5% of all health care costs, and leave injured patients with practically no legal recourse. Reducing medical mistake and neglect would mean healthier patients and lower cost.

So, let’s re-frame the debate. Let’s all of us urge the medical profession to cooperate in a joint effort to clean up their act and reduce the frequency and cost of their mistakes. A good start would be for the medical profession to support the insertion of two major recommendations of the landmark federal study, “To Err is Human” (conducted 10 years ago) into the health care package of bills . This comprehensive study suggested that 1. mandatory reporting of medical errors and 2. systemic changes to prevent future mistakes based on those reports would significantly reduce the incidents of medical error. Without medical error reporting, the outlook for serious change is bleak. Tell the medical profession to stop blaming the victims; tell them to stop blaming the lawyers. To quote the old proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

In the meantime, Lawsuit Financial will continue to speak out on matters of importance to injury victims. We will continue to provide lawsuit funding to victims of medical error, auto accidents, or other injury accidents. For further information, or to apply for an advance, please call 1-877-377-SUIT or visit