Is the US healthcare system too litigious or too careless?
In a recent study published in Health Affairs, researchers at the University of Utah and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement found that errors “occurred in one-third of hospital admissions”. Moreover, they “found at least ten times more confirmed, serious events than … other methods.”
Commenting on this study, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer said:
Without doubt, we’ve seen improvements in health care over the past decade, and even pockets of excellence, but overall progress has been agonizingly slow. It’s clear that we still have a great deal of work to do in order to achieve a healthcare system that is consistently high-quality–that is, safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, timely, and devoid of disparities based on race or ethnicity.
Wow, what an indictment of a healthcare system that many consider to be the best in the world!
With so many observed errors, you’d think that we’re the helpless patient in the cartoon below just waiting for a mistake to happen:
Or, are we just too litigious?
According to Angela Dodge and Steven Fitzer (When Good Doctors Get Sued):
- 25% of practicing physicians are sued annually
- 50-65% physicians are sued at least once during their career
In short, if you’re a doctor — good or bad — you’re going to get sued sooner or later, no matter what you do, which is really a sad statistic. It’s as though this country is filled with lawyers, like the one below, who sees dollar signs ringing when Frankenstein enters his office:
So, which one? Too litigious or too careless? Or both?
What do you think?