It is well established that between 210,000 to 440,000 people needlessly die each year from medical negligence. That makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in our country. Healthcare providers, however, have failed to treat this as an urgent problem and have refused to take steps to lower the mortality rate. On Tuesday, a baby died while undergoing heart surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida, making her the ninth infant to pass away after such a procedure in just the last 3 years at that one hospital. That accounts for the heart surgery program at St. Mary’s having a 12.5% mortality rate for open heart surgery, which is more than three times the national average.
When Insurance Companies Win, Consumers Lose
An article from the October issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds that tort reform does not have the impact on emergency room medicine that supporters guaranteed it would.
Tort reform is an idea pushed by insurance companies that claims medical malpractice lawsuits cause the costs of medical care to increase, cause doctors to stop practicing medicine, and cause a trickle-down effect that impacts every person in our country. Most of the myths of tort reform have been debunked, but insurance companies have spent tens of millions of dollars promulgating this theory, and it still resonates with many people. The myth that this study sought to confirm or reject was that doctors live in fear of lawsuits, so they order excessive tests to rule out possible medical conditions; this increase in diagnostic testing leads to more charges to the insurance company, which, in turn, causes medical care to be more expensive.