New York City, New York (PressExposure) June 09, 2011 -- A majority of Americans - 54 percent - are in favor of limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, according to an Associated Press poll conducted in November 2009 by Stanford University. In contrast, approximately one-third of those polled say that they are opposed. Public sentiment favors controlling health care costs, but linking malpractice reform to health care reform can deprive seriously injured patients a right to seek monetary damages and it will not address or solve the issue of rising health care costs.
"The growing outcry against medical malpractice suits will have the unfortunate effect of actually preventing patients who truly have been harmed from being compensated for their injuries," said Paul Dansker, Esq., a New York City-based personal injury attorney.
"People should not feel so intimidated or swayed by the media that they avoid just legal action and set aside their constitutional right to a day in court," he added.
The Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization that provides unbiased, expert advice to decision makers and the public, estimates that up to 100,000 patients die in hospitals each year as a result of medical mistakes.
With a medical system that reimburses health care providers based on quantity rather than quality, it is likely that an even greater number of patients die while under direct medical care, and tens of thousands more are injured. In 2006, the Institute reported that medication errors harm more than 1.5 million people every year, at a cost of at least $3.5 billion a year in treatment costs alone.
"We handle lawsuits for myriad injuries. One such case in which a child suffered irreversible brain damage due to improper anesthesia, provided a just method for the family to be compensated for the cost of long-term care. It also provided the child monetary damages for a profound loss of quality of life," noted Dansker. "This type of lawsuit is a world away from frivolous claims that waste resources, time, and money." In Long Island, New York, annual malpractice insurance rates range from about $33,000 per year for internists to over $194,000 for OB/GYNs, according to the Medical Liability Monitor 2009 survey.
"A real issue in health care reform that no one is talking about is improving medical care so that medical malpractice is significantly reduced. We should all support measures that improve the quality of healthcare so that fewer patients are injured in medical settings," said Dansker.
"Preventing avoidable patient injuries and deaths will save much more money than putting limits on malpractice recoveries, and it protects the constitutional right of patients to seek a fair trial when the circumstances are appropriate."
Dansker & Aspromonte Associates is located at 30 Vesey Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10007. For more information visit: