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Is a bad medical outcome a result from medical malpractice?

When people in Pennsylvania experience a bad medical outcome, there is often talk of a potential lawsuit. It is natural to want reparations after failing to see the results you expected when seeking medical care. This is especially the case if the end result was the death of a loved one. However, it is important to note that most of these instances do not result from medical malpractice.

It may be a hard pill for you to swallow, but according to Forbes, just over one in four bad medical outcomes result from malpractice. Researchers believe that 42% are not preventable and another 30.4% were preventable, but did not occur through neglect. Because of this, not every hospital visit that resulted in worsened symptoms, injury, complications or even death are eligible for a malpractice lawsuit.

To make matters worse, doctors may actually benefit from cases that end negatively for the patient, but which are not eligible for a lawsuit. This is because the patient will need additional care to return them to full health, if possible, or otherwise prolong their life. This generates more revenues for health providers and costs families more money over time.

One proposed solution is to give insurance companies the power to monitor hospitals. Patients at hospitals with high rates of malpractice complaints would pay higher premiums. This would encourage them to look for hospitals where premiums were lower as a result of higher quality health care. This would compel all hospitals to compete based on their ability to reduce adverse effects on the patient.

Some people resent the idea of reducing the effectiveness of the health care system to dollars and cents. They instead propose that malpractice lawsuits may be enough of a deterrent for doctors to strive to reduce medical errors. This may be true, but as Forbes itself points out, less than 2% of patients who suffer from medical malpractice ever file a lawsuit.

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