Myths of Medical Malpractice Cases


Amidst all of the recent debate on health care, there has been a vast amount of misinformation circulating about medical negligence and medical malpractice suits. Below you will find some of the most prevalent myths debunked.

Myth #1: Medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up health care costs for all of us.

  • A recent Dartmouth medical study found that over the years, medical malpractice payments have grown at a rate nearly identical to health care costs overall. Of every $1,000 spent on physician and clinical services in 1991, malpractice payments accounted for only about $10. In 2002, after adjusting for inflation, malpractice payments accounted for about $11 out of every $1000.

Myth #2: There are too many “frivolous” medical malpractice lawsuits.

  • According to a study of over 1,400 medical negligence claims, Harvard's School of Public Health found that 97 percent of medical malpractice claims have merit.  Additionally, of those 1,400 claims, 80 percent involved death or serious injury. The study concluded that all the doom-and-gloom depictions of a malpractice system that is overrun with frivolous litigation are exaggerated.

Myth #3: Medical malpractice litigation is forcing doctors to stop practicing.

  • In the United States, the number of practicing physicians has been growing steadily for decades. In 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 941,304 physicians in the United States, nearly 20,000 more than the year before.

Myth #4: Medical malpractice suits targeting hospitals do not target the truly dangerous doctors.

  • According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people die in hospitals each year because of preventable medical errors, including leaving foreign objects in the body during surgery, anesthesiology mistakes, improper or delayed diagnoses, incorrectly interpreted tests, and failure to follow procedures and understaffing.  It’s important to hold both the hospital and negligent doctors accountable.

Posted in Medical Malpractice | Tagged medical negligence