Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Reading

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Just back from the library, having returned Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (on which there are currently 7 holds—quite a popular book). I checked out Lev Grossman’s Codex, Alison Gopnik’s The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, and Tom Baker’s The Medical Malpractice Myth.

I’ve already learned that the medical malpractice myth has deep roots. It started in the 1970’s, with the message, "Medical malpractice insurance premiums are going through the roof. Frivolous litigation and runaway juries will drive doctors out of the profession." The medical societies—and the insurance companies—said that the answer was medical malpractice tort reform—to make it harder for misguided patients and their lawyers to sue. But:

2009-11-10_131634

This is going to be a very interesting book. I hope that others who have accepted as fact that tort reform is needed or that it helps will read the book. The answer is not tort reform, but for physicians and their societies and the various state boards to take action against the very small number of doctors who are repeatedly guilty of malpractice and to amend procedures to prevent errors. Such revisions in procedures can have a big payoff. From an article in Slate:

And while doctors hate to admit it, lawsuits can save lives. Motivated in part by liability suits, anesthesiologists dropped the risk of death in surgery from one in 5,000 to one in 250,000 over two decades, and their premiums have dropped from being the highest among doctors to some of the lowest. At the hospital where I trained in pediatric cardiology, a publicized malpractice case in which a child died led quickly to critical improvements in patient safety throughout the hospital.

Indeed, read that whole article—and also the book. The reader reviews of the book on Amazon.com are quite interesting, BTW.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 November 2009 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Books, Daily life, Law, Medical

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