A medical court for malpratice cases

Last week’s Newsweek had a cover story on the litigous nature of society. Unfortunately it wasn’t so much an article as it was a ten page editorial disguised as a factual piece. It presented a number of cases without citing the relevant facts behind them in an effort to show the full picture. The overall lack of statistical analysis in it was a bit disconcerting to say the least. But that’s not really what I wish to discuss.

One small portion of the article intrigued me. It was the concept of separate court system solely for malpractice cases. Here’s the revlevant section:

Howard is “Philip K. Howard, a legal reformer who published a 1994 best seller on the subject, ‘The Death of Common Sense,’ and more recently, ‘The Collapse of the Common Good” (2001)’” says the article.

The concept would probably work like arbitration in that both sides would pick one arbitrator and those two would pick a third and that three person panel would decide the legally binding outcome.

One potential problem I see with this is that people cannot by default give up their right to a trial by jury. They would have to sign something to that effect. This would create more paperwork for hospitals to deal with, which isn’t that great of a concern. More pressing is that in emergency cases, would doctors have the time (or would patients have the ability) to sign anything before a doctor could provide medical treatment?

It’s an interesting concept but how well would it pan out? How easy do you believe it to be to implement something like this? What would the logistical considerations have to be? What do you guys think?

Sure, and only structural engineers can judge whether or not a structural designer screwed up and the bridge failed in the first year.

And only CPA can judge whether a “regularly accepted practice” was just that or whether it was fraud.

I understand what you’re saying, but what is the alternative? It’s either a jury that has the potential to award a far greater amount than should be for any given claim, or it’s settled out of court. When it’s settled, those records are almost always sealed and so no one knows just how good or bad the doctor treating them is.
Medical malpractice insurance and needless tests to ensure everything possible was done to help the patient don’t just affect one particular patient. They affect EVERYONE as those are the driving forces behind skyrocketing medical bills and insurance premiums.

It has been amde abundantly clear, that the present malpractice system (lawsuits via courts) are costly and inefficient. The system rewards a very few with enormous awards, and under-compensates most victims. And, you have an enormously powerful group (the Trail Lawers Assoc.) who have a vested interest in maintaining the current system. Hence ,reform is impossible. The only thing I can see happening: as malpractice insurace premiums soar, doctors will have to stop practicing, or raise their fees to the point of un-affordability. When that day comes, medical care will be unavailable-then, when you break your arm, call your lawyer-see how much good he will doyou then!