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USA Today Argues Defensive Medicine Increases Healthcare Costs

From the American Association for Justice:

In its Opinion blog, USA Today (12/29) editorializes, “Healthcare costs are out of control,” but “that doesn’t stop sensible physicians from shunning the sickest patients or ordering needless hospitalizations, drugs, tests, and invasive procedures.” In fact, “against their better judgment, physicians practice ‘defensive medicine’ — actions designed to protect themselves from lawsuits rather than serve patients’ best interests.” The reason is because “the threat of being sued is pervasive, and doctors simply don’t trust the legal system.” The cost of practicing defensive medicine costs the US “$60 billion-plus, according to the Health and Human Services Department.” USA Today argues that “change obviously is needed — and aggressively resisted both by trial lawyers who profit from the system and by others who don’t want to lose a deterrent to medical malpractice.” USA Today concludes, “Reform would encourage doctors to focus on patient needs instead of what unnecessary tests might keep a lawyer away from their doors.”

AAJ president contends reducing preventable medical errors will lead to fewer malpractice claims. In an opposing viewpoint, Les Weisbrod, president of the American Association for Justice, writes in the USA Today (12/29) Opinion blog, “The field of medicine is filled with doctors devoted to improving lives and protecting patients. Trial attorneys also are passionately committed to these identical principles.” In fact, “America’s fair and open legal system helps injured people seek recourse, and leads to improved safety methods and standards.” Arguing that “98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors,” Weisbrod contends that “by reducing medical errors, fewer people will be injured, leading to fewer malpractice claims.” He also asserts that a study conducted by Harvard’s School of Public Health “found 97 percent of medical malpractice claims had merit, proving only those with real injuries seek any recourse.” Weisbrod concludes, “If we want to reform healthcare, reducing the 98,000 preventable deaths is where progress is desperately needed.” Meanwhile, the US “legal system provides justice for deserving, injured individuals while holding wrongdoers accountable.”

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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