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Friday, May 27th 2005

AMSA On Malpractice Reform

I’ve been told, and have no doubt, that come orientation and the first week of medical school I will be barraged with opportunities to join a stream of clubs, organizations, and groups. One of the chief amongst them is the American Medical Student Association, a link for which can be found on the sidebar.

This is a highly politicized group with a loud voice concerning its nearly socialist agenda for the future of healthcare.

You must give the AMSA credit, it has grown to be the largest representative organization of medical students, while making no secret of its liberal activism. However, here’s their take on malpractice reform in this country.

There is plenty of opinion and chatter on the subject of medical malpractice reform. But, amongst the real research and figures, there is a wide debate about the viability of medical malpractice caps to stop the rise in malpractice insurance premiums in this country. What is almost universal, amongst legitimate publications, is the high percentage of lawsuits which are frivolous.

For instance, in Texas in between 1994 and 2000, 85% of all med mal lawsuits were closed without a payment to the plaintiff.

This may certainly look like a good thing, yet even when such cases result in no award or settlement they require physician time. This is time away from patient care, from earning.

The AMSA’s proposal to reduce medical errors by no fault reporting and better communication are very noble but they’re not solutions to the medical malpractice problems. Not after seeing how many cases that are brought involve no medical error in the first place.