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The Band-Aid of Medical Negligence

In his book, First Do No Harm: The Cure for Medical Malpractice, Dr. Ira E. Williams evaluates the major issues that are central to the current medical malpractice crisis.  Armed with many disturbing medical malpractice statistics and anecdotes, Williams focuses his analysis on the medical field’s responsibility for the malpractice crisis.  Williams scrutinizes the past and present “band-aids” of medical malpractice such as tort reform, alternative dispute resolution, and a no-fault system, and in the end offers Individual Responsibility Peer Review as a “radical yet practical” solution.

Professor Todres, Acting Assistant Professor, New York University of School of Law suggests that current medical malpractice reform efforts are deficient because they consider remedies for medical errors separate from the healthcare system. Thus, the core principle-care- and the primary goal-healing-of health care are not properly taken into account when devising a system to address medical errors.  Today legal remedies for medical errors are not considered part of the continuum of care.  If something goes wrong, typical response is to call in the attorneys. Lawyers take over, and the patient’s problem is no longer situated in the health care system.  Now the focus shifts to limiting information, making the better argument and proving the other party wrong.  Very little in this endeavor fosters an environment of care, and none leads to healing.

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