Eliminating Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Will NOT Improve Patient Care

A recent article in The Washington Post concluded Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. had the “highest rate of death lawsuits per bed” based on a study of six D.C. hospitals.  The findings in the article highlight a litany of healthcare violations and deficiencies ranging from compliance with laws to delivery of patient care.   Dozens of documented problems, including little oversight of medical residents, inoperable emergency room equipment, sloppy record-keeping and a lax nursing staff clearly reveal egregious conduct that are grounds for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims.

So what happens when a hospital like Howard University with a proven record of medical negligence, is shielded from any accountability for their actions?  If patients are unable to bring forth cases in which egregious negligence resulted in a death or an unwarranted amputation, will the killing spree cease or will it continue unchecked?  The fact is that civil lawsuits are one of the only ways to expose systematic negligence in hospitals.  Often it is the filing of a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit that spurs healthcare companies and hospitals to correct their policies and procedures, and hopefully prevent future tragedies.

So WHY is Congress pushing legislation that will make lawsuits brought by injured patients, nursing home residents, and their families nearly impossible to pursue? The answer is simple.  H.R. 1215 is not designed to protect patients or access to care. Rather, it is designed to insulate the healthcare and insurance industry from exposure for negligence and allow egregious misconduct to go unchecked.  The so-called “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017” H.R. 1215 will rig the system against families whose loved ones have been injured by negligence and tip the scales in favor of powerful corporate defendants.

So again, the question begs, WHY is Congress pushing legislation that will make lawsuits brought by injured patients, nursing home residents, and their families nearly impossible to pursue? Because patients are not a priority.  The focus is on profits for the healthcare industry.

Howard University, is NOT the lone exception to the rule, and eliminating medical malpractice cases is not the answer that will “protect patients.”  A study conducted in 2016 by Johns Hopkins suggested medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the U.S estimating 250,000 deaths per year. The only recourse for the families of these 250,000 incidents is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and attempt to hold the hospital and doctors accountable for their actions.

Hospitals, healthcare agencies and the insurance industry are titans that hold a tremendous amount of power over patients. The only power an injured patient has is the ability to expose negligence and misconduct in a court of law.  Congress should be ashamed to suggest denying patients of their only recourse for justice.

Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa is dedicated to protecting victims of medical malpractice. If you have questions about a potential medical negligence claim, please contact Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa for information.  To arrange a consultation, please call Sean Domnick at (561) 625-6260 or email sean@dcwlaw.com.  For more information, visit our website today at www.dcwlaw.com.