Medical malpractice is the worst fear of many, and a nightmare for those who have experienced it. Although human error is a natural part of life, why do so many of those mistakes happen within one of the most widely trusted institutions? There may not be an answer to this complicated question, but some studies show that New York leads the country in medical malpractice suits. It is therefore essential to understand what happens in malpractice lawsuits, the problems that can arise as a result and the ways these errors are addressed.
One of those malpractice studies found its way into a 2014 article from The Washington Post. The article reveals that, according to government data collected by Diederich Healthcare’s Jeremy Gower, awards in malpractice lawsuits paid out in New York amounted to $690 million in 2013. This statistic almost doubled that of the second-highest ranking state of Pennsylvania, where payouts amounted to $357 million. The Post adds that New York also leads the country in per capita payouts, averaging at $39 per resident. The numbers may be overwhelming, but do medical malpractice lawsuits ultimately benefit patients? Despite their complex outcomes, laws surrounding medical malpractice can vary depending on the state and types of insurance companies that reside within.
Earlier this month, Science Daily reported on a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University Medical Center that involved communication and how certain gestures affect medical malpractice cases. Surgeon apologies following a malpractice case may seem as apparent and expected gestures, but many hospitals experience difficulty in determining blame. Researchers from this study found that offering an apology did not increase medical malpractice lawsuits. This finding could shed light on the ways hospitals manage medical errors and their commitment to offering compensation in a proactive manner, as opposed to failing to address a mistake appropriately.