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News of the Day ... in Perspective


“Malresult” insurance proposed for patients

“According to the AMA, 20 states now face a full-blown medical liability crisis. Data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows a 750% increase nationally in malpractice insurance premiums since 1975. For some specialists such as obstetricians, the annual insurance premium exceeds $200,000,” writes psychiatrist Thomas Szasz.

Szasz suggests that much of the responsibility for medical malresults should be placed where it belongs: on patients, who assume medical risk by seeking medical treatment. The possibility of a bad outcome exists even if the physician provides the best care possible.

Juries sympathize with those who have experienced a calamity, and tort law does not adequately distinguish between a medical “malresult” and bona fide medical negligence. If patients were expected to insure themselves against the former, physicians’ liability exposure would shrink to a fraction of its present dimensions. See www.reason.com/hod/ts011005.shtml.

Congressman Ron Paul, M.D., (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation on this topic later this year.

Additional information:

AAPS on Medical Malpractice Reform, July 2002: “The Patient’s Quick Primer”

AAPS Statement on Professional Liability Crisis in Pennsylvania, Jan. 2003

Letter to Arizona physicians on professional liability issues, Apr. 28,. 2004

"Risk Shifting," AAPS News January 2005.

“Medical Care Too Dangerous” by Jane M. Orient, M.D.: UPI outside view

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