Shifting The Blame Onto the Victim is Not the Answer

January 12, 2009

The Medical Malpractice Myth, by Tom Baker (Everyday Citizen)

Medical malpractice law traces its roots back to 19th Century English common law. The law that developed concerning medical malpractice is part of the more general body of law dealing with injuries to people or property, known as “tort law.” Medical malpractice cases are an example of one particular type of tort, the tort known as “negligence.”

The concept of negligence is that people should be reasonably careful in what they do, and, if they are not, they should be held responsible for the injuries that can be reasonably foreseen as resulting from their negligent conduct.

Even though a series of major reports from the Institute of Medicine and others have pointed out serious deficiencies in the quality of medical care delivered in this country, with high rates of medical error causing harm or death, the talk in Congress and in the White House is not about quality of care or protection of patients.

Instead, the talk in Washington DC seems obsessed with tort reform. Medical malpractice law and insurance have become popular topics for debate in Washington, DC and around the country. Why?

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