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Medical malpractice claims are made only in severe cases

Any medical provider who participates in the health care of a patient can be liable for damages caused by negligence. This includes nurses, lab workers and other agents who work for doctors and hospitals. The urban legend that depicts people on welfare rushing to the courtroom corridors to sue their doctors for medical malpractice simply doesn't hold up in Louisiana or elsewhere.

Studies show, in fact, that the poor are less likely to file for damages than those who are comfortably situated. There are other popular myths about medical malpractice claims that have been thoroughly discredited. It is not true that a large percentage of medical patients file lawsuits against their medical providers. Although there are 98,000 who die each year due to medical mistakes and hundreds of thousands injured, only one out of eight people actually file a medical malpractice action, according to the Institute of Medicine.

The American Medical Association estimates that 80 percent of events in the health care system are a result of human error and could have been prevented. Additionally, most medical negligence claims involve patients who incurred serious injury or death; only rarely will a suit be filed based on a minor event. Moreover, medical malpractice attorneys are highly selective in analyzing such cases and they will usually accept only a very small percentage of potential claims for processing.

The percentage of health care costs that are attributed to defending malpractice claims and to compensation for victims in Louisiana and nationwide is only 0.3 percent of health care costs. The most common reasons for malpractice claims are through surgical errors for inpatient cases and errors in diagnosis for outpatient cases. Thus, when the facts are looked at without the distortions of common myth, it is seen that the country vitally needs medical malpractice remedies in order to provide critically necessary remuneration to the most severe cases.

Source: minoritynurse.com, "Five ways to Avoid being a part of Medical Malpractice Litigation", Nicole Thomas, March 25, 2016

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