Medical Malpractice Payments On The Rise

Medical malpractice occurs more frequently than most people believe. If you are injured by a physician or hospital’s negligence, it is important to seek the legal advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney in the Tucson area.

 

Damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits have been steadily rising since 1991. In 2000, the mean payout was $125k. Over the next 10 years, payouts followed the rate of medical inflation, rising 6.7 percent on average.

 

Each year, somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die due to preventable medical errors, resulting in a cost to society of $29 billion. Yet, only about 5 percent of doctors are responsible for 54 percent of malpractice payouts, and state medical boards have disciplined only 8 percent of doctors with two or more malpractice payouts.

The red flags in your file

While there is no way of knowing if you have one of the doctors who are causing 54 percent of the malpractice cases, there are ways to tell if you might have a case:

 

  • Complete blood count: Every CBC count will indicate a normal range, and tell if your WBC (white blood cells) are high or low. A high count after surgery or a major procedure can indicate infection or complication.
  • Post-op X-rays: X-rays can identify air pockets, objects, or fluid collection in critical areas.
  • Unusually long or short operative times: Every surgical record will have notes from nurses and other doctors, such as anesthesiologists or other specialists. Unusually long procedure times or long delays between stages of the operation can identify the problems that occurred.
  • Return to the hospital or the OR after procedure: Returning to the hospital or operating room after a procedure is a bad sign, and most physicians will treat it as a red flag.

Malpractice isn’t responsible for rising medical costs

Economics — not medical malpractice costs — have caused the rise in medical costs over the past 10 years. According to Medical Malpractice Insurance: Stable Losses/Unstable Rates: “When the economy is booming and investment returns are high, companies maintain premiums at modest levels; however, when the economy falters and interest rates fall, companies increase premiums in response.” So, when you hear politicians cry for tort reform and caps on malpractice awards, know they are really looking out for the insurance industry, not your best interests.

The Tucson medical malpractice lawyers at Rockafellow Law Firm have the resources and staff on hand to help you determine whether you have a viable malpractice case. Contact the Rockafellow law firm today to discuss your case. 

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