Medical Malpractice Curbed When Doctors Commit to Limiting Errors

Misleading refrains by advocates of so-called “tort reform” often include mention of obstetricians as the classic case of unfair consequences of medical malpractice lawsuits. However, those of us who understand the rights of medical patients repeatedly indicate that doctors seeking to minimize their malpractice liability had one clear method of doing that-actually committing less medical malpractice.

New research published by Crains now seems to offer a clear example of how innovative programs in obstetrics had the effect of lowering medical malpractice payouts-and improving patient care in the process. A New York hospital has been able to cut its lawsuit payouts by a staggering 99% simply by following simple, effective methods of improving medical care.

Those new measures included clear documentation of all steps taken by all medical professionals involved in patient care. Other changes involved the use of electronic applications for nurses to communicate with one another on patient progress. The hospital also conducted emergency drills to better understand the protocol when a mother suffers life-threatening complications. The facility even hired more employees, so that no single doctor or assistant was forced to work in sleep-deprived conditions.

The head of the team that enacted these important changes explains, “Any hospital could do it-it’s not about money, it’s about changing the culture to make it safer to deliver babies.”

Clearly, Illinois medical malpractice can similarly be limited if local hospitals are committed to taking necessary steps to improve patient care.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti are troubled by the failure of so many medical professionals to take steps to curb medical errors. Lives are lost and families are destroyed on a daily basis because of this problem. More accountability and testing need to be devoted to programs that actual work to save lives and limit Illinois medical malpractice.

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