Hospital Dispute Systems Do Not Help Medical Malpractice Victims
The Wall Street Journal recently addressed a growing trend in medical malpractice claims and how they are handled outside of the tort system, as well as how the new systems hurt victims of malpractice.
In an effort to limit medical malpractice lawsuits, many states and hospitals have instituted resolution systems that are outside the usual litigation process. These communication and resolution systems have been touted as successfully reducing medical malpractice claims by as much as 36 percent and compensation to victims by 59 percent. However, it is is obvious whom this benefits – the hospitals, not the victims of malpractice.
Hospital communication or resolution systems may vary but the end goal for most of them is to make the claim process extremely quick, to limit the money paid out to victims, and to prevent the pursuit of lawsuits. These systems take a variety of forms. Internal medical review panels, health courts, forced arbitration clauses, and internal mediation processes are all various iterations of the communication or resolution systems.
Medical malpractice victims are forced to traverse a system that is clearly skewed in favor of the hospital or medical provider. Often hospital administrators or arbiters chosen by the hospital will review the claim. In some cases, if the health care providers apologize and admit fault to the victim, this information cannot be used later in court. The same goes for the investigatory findings of the internal panels. This isn’t to say that all hospitals create unfair resolution systems. There are those that allow the medical malpractice victim to be properly represented by their lawyer, but for many that is not the case.
The tort system and litigation is the best means for victims of medical malpractice to recover compensation for their injuries and medical care. Injuries caused by doctor error or negligent treatment can have catastrophic, life-threatening, or life-long consequences. It is imperative that plaintiffs have the opportunity to be heard in a neutral setting such as a court, because the resolution/communication systems hospitals employ have no interest reaching fair or just decisions.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a negligent health care provider, please contact an experienced attorney. An attorney familiar with medical malpractice cases will be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Reach out to Wallace Childers PLLC for a consultation on your case.