Medical malpractice is defined as "professional negligence by act or omission of a health care provider where the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient. It often occurs as the result of reckless conduct or other medical error."
When an individual or loved one is harmed, families may seek redress and damages by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, over the years many have claimed that the fear of lawsuits has caused doctors to practice "defensive medicine" – ordering unnecessary and expensive tests in order to protect themselves from lawsuits. However, a recent study published by Rand in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that this assertion is exaggerated.
The study looked at three states where the medical malpractice laws were rewritten to make it virtually impossible to sue doctors for mistakes. Researches concluded that the cost of care did not go down – or the practices change – when the threat of litigation was virtually removed.
As one researcher commented, "If you ask physicians, 'Do you practice defensively?' They overwhelmingly say, 'Yes we do.' They say they order more CT scans and MRIs. But when the team examined emergency room bills and the likelihood that the patients would be admitted to the hospital or receive a CT or MRI scan, Waxman and his colleagues found no difference in nearly every measure before and after the three states changed their laws.
However, the real victims – those harmed by medical malpractice – have faced greater challenges in obtaining justice. At Bostwick & Peterson, we are committed to helping victims of medical malpractice recover all the compensation they deserve. If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, please contact our Los Angeles medical malpractice law firm for an immediate consultation.