A hat tip this morning to Andrew Cochran at The 7th Amendment Advocate for tweeting a link to Diederich Healthcare's telling medical malpractice infographic.
The statistics are unsurprising to those who have fought battles to keep courthouse doors open for injured victims… but these statistics are surprising in that they come from a medical malpractice insurance company.
The Diederich infographic is telling in a number of areas:
No National Medical Malpractice Crisis
As Andrew Cochran pointed out, it demonstrates there is no national medical malpractice crisis. Nearly half of all medical malpractice payouts came from only five states (Florida, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, and New York).
No Medical Malpractice Crisis At All
More than one data set shows that there is no medical malpractice crisis at all. For example, the infographic shows that overall medical malpractice payments have been steadily declining since 2003. Med Mal payments in 2012 were 3.4% lower than the year before.
The data also shows that "runaway juries" or "excessive" jury awards are not part of any alleged "problem" with medical malpractice. Only 5% of all medical malpractice awards in 2012 resulted from a jury award by way of a judgment following trial. However, 93% of medical malpractice payments were made voluntarily by the doctor, hospital, or health care provider by way of settlement.
Finally, the data shows that the vast majority (approximately 80%) of payouts were for major, significant permanent injuries or death. The included:
- Death: 31%
- Significant Permanent Injury: 19%
- Major Permanent Injury: 18%
- Quadriplegic, Brain Damage, Lifelong Care: 12%
In Missouri, anti-7th Amendment and anti-Justice groups like the Chamber of Commerce have tried to claim our state suffers from a medical malpractice "lawsuit crisis". These statistics prove that's just not so. The facts simply do not fit the rhetoric.
In Missouri, doctors aren't fleeing the state. The number of doctors per patient in Missouri has grown steadily over the last 40 years. That's true even for so-called "high risk" specialties like neurosurgeons and OB-GYNs.
I'm glad to see this data from Diederich Healthcare and the Diederich Insurance Agency. Maybe we can finally put the false claims of a medical malpractice lawsuit crisis behind us and start focusing on protecting patients and upholding the constitution.
- Medical errors leave devastating impact on families, professionals [Blythe Berhnard at St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison
Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.