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Government Proposes System for Reporting Medical Errors


Because so many medical errors go unreported, the Obama Administration is developing a program for patients to report the harm they may have experienced while in the hospital or with medical caregivers, according to a New York Times article.

Be it improper medication or doses, surgical error, misdiagnosis, or other medical oversight, thousands of hospital errors and cases of physician negligence go unreported each year. Federal officials believe patients have a wealth of information that could be used to help improve the care given by medical providers.

The program asks patients to fill out a questionnaire that requests a description of what went wrong, the medical provider’s name, and permission to share responses with medical providers so that future mistakes can be avoided. These questionnaires would be available in hospitals and doctors’ offices, and information describing the program would be available through pharmacies and insurance companies or mailed directly to patients. The reporting system could be accessed via a website or through a telephone interview. Reporting would still be voluntary and confidential, unless, as noted above, patients give permission for their experience to be shared with medical providers.

Dr. Kevin J. Bozic, chairman of the Council on Research and Quality at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said it was also important that the information patients provide in the reports be verified in their medical records, because patients could think they were victims of nursing error or medical harm when they were not. Though patients’ reports could be helpful because they and their family members have more opportunity to see things that busy caregivers may miss, patients also know less of what to expect. Patients offering to report a medical error could mischaracterize a situation that a doctor would recognize as perfectly normal.

Many hospitals and medical caregivers welcome the program. Although the information contained in reports could cause liability issues or result in loss of funding, caregivers want to know the kinds of mistakes taking place so that they are better able to correct them and take care of patients in the future.


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  1. jc says:
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    Sounds like another program to provide information to plaintiff attorneys so that they can file frivolous lawsuits against physicians. Another big waste of time.

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    Welcome back Dr. John. As you are well aware, the best way to reduce the cost of malpractice is to reduce malpractice, which works. And the “frivolous lawsuit” nonsense has been discredited for years–there is no lawsuit crisis, and there never has been. Indeed, most cases of malpractice are not even brought as lawsuits. Let that sink in a bit.

    Examine what happened with one clinic’s OB care, where lawsuit payouts dropped 99% when they implemented simple, common sense improvements to patient care: http://cleveland.legalexaminer.com/medical-malpractice/real-medical-malpractice-reform-in-new-yorkits-about-patient-safety-stupid.aspx?googleid=289062

  3. jc says:
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    80% of medical malpractice suits which go to trial are won by the defendant doctor. That means that plaintiff attorneys lose 80% of the time – – a failure rate unmatched in American industry. Saying that there are no frivolous lawsuits is Bill Eadie’s way of denying reality. How about allowing docs to coutersue negligent plaintiff attorneys for filing frivolous lawsuits, after the docs win their malpractice suit? There is a cost to frivolous malpractice litigation, why should plaintiff attorneys be given an entitlement to take physicians to court on frivolous cases and burn up valuable physician and court time on trivial issues?

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    Dear Dr. John:
    Thank you for reading & commenting on my intern’s article, but we’re getting further off-topic. The fact is, doctors, like all humans, make mistakes. Patients should be able to report those mistakes. Do you at least agree with that statement?
    As a side note, statistics without a source mean nothing. As a further side note, most doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers settle out of court to avoid trial.

  5. jc says:
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    These are the statistics from malpractice jury trial cases in Pennsylvania from 2007-2010
    Year Cases Def Verdicts %Def Verdicts
    2010 163 133 81.6%
    2009 154 131 85.1%
    2008 161 131 81.4%
    2007 185 153 82.7%
    I cannot find these statistics from Ohio, but they are probably similar. Plaintiff attorneys lose about 80% of malpractice cases that go to trial, a failure rate unmatched in American Industry.
    I do not know if I agree with patients being able to report “mistakes”. Who do they report these “mistakes” to? How do patients know these are truely “mistakes” and not simply the progression of their disease? Will these reports be made public possibly allowing unjust publicity of providers and unjust legal liability?
    As a side note, most malpractice suits against doctors are dropped without payment, however the fact that a lawsuit has been filed against that doctor stays on that doctors record forever! Yes, even if the doctor had no liability, he has to report that malpractice suit whenever he applies for hospital staff privileges or a state license.

  6. jc says:
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    Miranda – -Now lets talk about why plaintiff attorneys lose 80% of malpractice trials that go to court. Well, malpractice litigation is very technical difficult litigation requiring significant legal and medical expertise. Yet the Ohio Bar Association has no training program for lawyers to do this type of litigation. All a lawyer has to do is pass the Ohio Bar and he can sue a doctor. It is the medical equivalent of allowing a doctor to finish an internship and do complex brain surgery the next day without any training whatsoever! No hospital in Ohio would ever allow this! Yet the Ohio Bar Association says that this is standard practice. Is it any wonder that plaintiff attorneys lose 80% of their malpractice cases at trial?

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    JC is up to his old tricks again–ignoring the facts and making wild assumptions. No, JC, losing a case does not mean it was “frivolous”–the whole reason we have a court system with a jury (under the Constitution) is that we understand people may reasonably disagree–and it is up to the jury to set the standard of care, not you.

    In any event, people get hurt by medical failures a lot less when hospitals and doctors take steps to improve care–not by shutting down people’s constitutional rights.

    As a final note, the suggestion that people blunder into med mal cases in Ohio is absurd. These cases are expensive, complex, and risky to all involved in terms of time, money, and energy. Fewer attorneys are handling them than ever. But keep changing the subject, it’s all you have.

  8. jc says:
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    Bill- -it is not a wild assumption to conclude that when 80% of med mal cases that go to trial are lost by the plaintiff attorneys, that a substantial percentage of these cases are frivolous and should not have been tried in the first place. If you truly believe the court system is the best way to resolve complaints, then we should allow doctors to countersue plaintiff attorneys who bring frivolous litigation.
    Doctors, patients, hospitals and even plaintiff attorneys get hurt a lot less when plaintiff attorneys take the time to carefully review cases and use 180 day letters prior to running off and filing litigation. Don’t tell me that plaintiff attorneys carefully evaluate all their cases. I have seen a number of cases filed without affidavits of merit, blanket litigation against every doc who is on the chart, pursuit of claims long after lack of liability has been firmly established. I can give examples of all these claims, and examples of blatant legal malpractice by the plaintiff attorneys in their client representation. The problem is a total lack of training in medical legal litigation by the legal profession.

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    Dr. J, I appreciate you willingness in this last comment to be both polite and lucid.

    You state that “I have seen a number of cases filed without affidavits of merit, blanket litigation against every doc who is on the chart, pursuit of claims long after lack of liability has been firmly established.” My response is that, ironically, it is the tort “reform” movement that pushes exactly the type of litigation you hate.

    Example 1: ultra-short 1 year statute of limitations. There really is no excuse or justification for this. If I have a client walk in with a clear liability med mal case, but they were treated at a hospital that will take 3 months (at least) to produce records of which doctors did what, and all of those doctors have separate corporations (tricky doctors!) and the hospital won’t confirm or deny which doc is an employee or not, guess what? Not only should the attorney file against all the Tx docs who might have committed malpractice, it might be legal malpractice NOT to do so. Many victims of preventable harms call me AFTER the 1 year. Why? Because they, like everyone else, are more concerned about getting better, not calling a lawyer. God bless ‘em. The SOL on these claims should be 4 years or longer, not 1 year.

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    Example 2: evisceration of the “John Doe” pleading.

    Under this principle, a client who knows there were other, unknown docs involved does not need to “shotgun” plead all the docs and nurses, they can plead who they know (remember, they need to file quickly because of the ultra-short SOL) and “john Doe” the rest. Turns out only 1 other doc involved? Great, amend to add them, not doctors who might not have anything to do with it.

    The conservative Ohio Supreme Court got rid of this–strong insurance lobby and out-of-state contributions to support certain candidates has been suggested, by some, as a reason for these types of decisions. helps insurance companies, hurts docs (and lawyers and victims).

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    Example 3–damage caps means that hospitals and insurance companies are much less likely to negotiate smaller cases–why bother if their liability is capped at the knees, arbitrarily?

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    Example 4–really more of a point.

    Litigation, particularly med mal, is expensive. No attorney I have ever met–ever–wants to spend the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, out of her own pocket, to pursue a lawsuit that is “frivolous.” The lawyer loses all that money.

  13. jc says:
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    Bill, thank you for responding in a respectful manner and now I would like to answer you points. I personally feel there should be more tort restrictive tort reform litigation, in many areas, particularly in statute of limitations. If a patient comes into the lawyers office with a legitimate claim near the expiration of the statute of limitations, the lawyer can and should file 180 day letters against all docs on the chart if necessary. This is what these letters are for and they should be used. The reason is that if a doctor gets sued that is on his record permanently! Whenever he applies for medical staff privileges or for a license he has to report that malpractice suit even if he was dismissed – -forever! So by using the 180 day letter you extend by 6 months your time to investigate the case. But you can extend things even further. You can then file a malpractice suit without an affidavit of merit and get an additional 90 days. If you still do not have an affidavit of merit you can dismiss the case without prejudice and refile in a year and get another 90 days, before you have to file an affidavit of merit. So a skilled lawyer has 3 years from the time of the incident before he has to produce an affidavit of merit.
    That is way too long. We doctors frequently have to make medical decisions in minutes with poor history and half the information. Doctors are astounded that a lawyer cannot investigate a case for 6 months with a 180 day letter and make a decision. My own feeling is that if you can’t decide in 6 months, you either don’t have a case or the case is too complex for you to handle.

  14. jc says:
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    Eviceration of “John Doe” pleadings, did not really occurr in the OSC. I read the Union City Hospital Case you talk about. In this case, a man was sent home without pulmonary embolism precautions and developed pulmonary embolism and died. The lawyer sued most of the docs on the chart and “Dr. John Doe”. It turned out none of the docs the plaintiff attorney sued was responsible, but during discovery, the lawyer found out who was responsible and sued that pulmonologist (using Dr. John Doe) after the SOL. Turns out the pulmonologist was on the chart, had talked to the family and managed the pts care. What the Ohio Supreme Court said was that suing “Dr. John Doe” is not a back door way to get around the statute of limitations. The plaintiff’s attorney may not know all the docs involved but he has to refer and summon “John Doe radiologist” or John Doe pathologist” and send the subpoena to the respective radiology or pathology group, and then if they are involved he can later sue them.

  15. jc says:
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    Med mal cases are very expensive to pursue, costing around $100K in court costs, medical expert fees, transcription fees, etc to bring and this is before the 40% lawyer contingency fee. Right now, there is a $350K cap on “pain and suffering” (P & S)damages, which I think should be lower. 10 years ago the Ohio Supreme Court thru out P & S damages in Ohio and we had a malpractice crisis. Neurosurgeons had malpractice rates which jumped to 200K per year and my town lost 4 of 5 neurosurgeons. They neurosurgeon who was left said, “I can’t cover every night!” So if you were in an auto accident on Tuesday, you got put in a helicopter. We docs and businesses got together and elected a new OSC and got P & S caps approved. My malpractice insurance has dropped 40%! P&S is too subjective, – -what does $50K P & S look like compared to $500K P & S? Plus more cases were settling because docs were afraid of punitive awards exceeding their coverage. Finally, if a pt gets injured at work, he gets worker’s comp, not P & S, for the same injury. If a doc has done something malicious, punitive damages are always available. I would like to see P & S reduced further to the $250K range to further reduce my med mal rates.

  16. jc says:
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    I have been talking to state senators and representatives about making the statute of limitations more restrictive. Here is why- -I want lawyers to use 180 day letters to investigate cases instead of filing lawsuits without affidavits of merit. I think that if a lawyer files a med mal case without an affidavit of merit, and cannot get one in 90 days, the case should be dropped with prejudice! This would force lawyers to file 180 day letters giving them 6 months plus and additional 3 months after they have filed the case to get an affidavit of merit. If you do not have an affidavit of merit 9 months after the end of the SOL, you do not have a case and the case should be dismissed!

  17. jc says:
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    A big issue for me and the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) is “Loss of a Chance” malpractice litigation. In traditional tort law, you have to prove negligence and that the negligence was the proximate cause of the injury. This standard held for 200 years for lawyers, docs, accountants, engineers, ets. In 1996, 4 men in black robes in the Ohio Supreme Court arbitrarily changed that and allowed “Loss of Chance” only against docs. So now, if you were negligent but your actions were only 0.1% the cause of the harm to the patient, you can be held liable. So now, only in Ohio, a doctor can be sued for medical malpractice and “Loss of a chance” in the same trial. The plaintiff uses his expert witnesses to prove traditional medical malpractice and then uses the defense expert witnesses to prove “Loss of a Chance” No other state in the USA allows this. It is a form of strict liability against physicians and I and the OSMA are fighting against it. Loss of a chance unfairly discriminates against docs and should be outlawed!

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    The idea that you will have more thoroughly-investigated claims with a shorter statute of limitations is nonsense. Attorneys use 180 day letters now; it would be easier to avoid filing suit altogether (and therefore less costly to the attorneys and clients) if the SOL was longer.

    I have no idea how you can think shortening the time–which is already notably short “only for doctors”–would avoid hasty filing or shotgun pleading.

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    You speak of “loss of chance” as strict liability. I think you misunderstand the theory, which is sound.

    A patient comes to a doctor with a hacking cough that wont’ go away, shortness of breath, aching chest. This could be a number of things, but it could be lung cancer. In fact, the patient has lung cancer. The doctor completely blows the differential diagnosis by not even considering lung cancer.

    Six critical months go by where the patient has no idea they have lung cancer. The patient gets pneumonia (because the lung cancer tumor is growing and restricting the airway). Goes to urgent care, where the doctor takes a history, learns the patient is a former smoker and orders an image of the lungs that reveals advanced lung cancer.

    Turns out, the patient had about a 60% chance of beating the cancer back when he saw the first doc. Now he has a 20% chance. You know what Doc #1’s insurance-company-hired lawyer says? So what if it was malpractice, you only had a 60% chance of survival anyway so you can’t blame our doc just because our doc didn’t bother to do his job.”

    Nice, huh? The ONLY thing the “loss of chance” doctrine does is give that patient a recovery for the LOST amount–the fighting chance–that he had to live. Any damages, assuming the patient wins, are reduced to the percent the doctor was responsible for messing up.

    Hardly “strict liability,” wouldn’t you agree?

    Also, this IS accepted in some other states–although not enough.

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    Also, the idea that malpractice lawsuits are tied to insurance rates is a lie–one that was proven incorrect by studies years ago. Here’s one from 2005: http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2005/06/01/rising_doctors_premiums_not_due_to_lawsuit_awards/

    I don’t mean to suggest you are a liar. I think you have been lied to–by your insurance company.

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    Finally, JC, you’ve pointed to one (and only one) issue to support “tort reform”: the negative impact on doctors when a lawsuit is filed. Not patient safety, not reducing malpractice rates, nothing. Just “protect doctors.” I call this Malpractice Entitlements, which you can read about here: http://cleveland.legalexaminer.com/tag/malpractice+entitlements/

    In the end, of course, you have to know that what your suffering from is not the patient’s fault, it is the fault of your insurance companies and medical review boards. Why don’t you go lobby to change those, instead of lobbying to take away people’s Constitutional rights?

  22. jc says:
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    If we require a plaintiff’s attorney to have an affidavit of merit (AOM) upon filing litigation, and if there is no AOM filed within 90 days from the date of the filing of the suit the case gets dropped with prejudice, then that puts a burden on the plaintiff attorneys to investigate the case. If they do not, and the case is dropped their client is out of luck permanently. What this does is force plaintiff attorneys to use 180 day letters. Bill, no reasonable person thinks that it should take more than 6 months to investigate a case. If you cannot decide the merits of a case in 6 months then you do not have a case. Remember that the doctor’s career is permanently affected whenever you file a lawsuit, even if the case is dismissed. Finally you note that only doctors have such a short statute of limitations. Well, only doctors can be sued for “loss of chance” and only doctors can be held liable for post judgement interest if they do not settle a case and end up losing the case.

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    “no reasonable person thinks that it should take more than 6 months to investigate a case.” Wrong. It can take longer–getting medical records and then expert review. That’s assuming someone comes to you with 6 months to spare–or before the SOL is up altogether. THAT’S the “short” time.

    “only doctors can be held liable for post judgement interest if they do not settle a case and end up losing the case.” That’s just not true. There is no special rule for doctors.

  24. jc says:
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    Bill, I want to respond to your current post, but your other posts also deserve a response. Your first statement is difficult to believe. My contention is that if an attorney files a 180 day letter, he gets 6 months to investigate a case. If he feels that the case is strong, he can file a lawsuit after 180 days and he gets another 90 days before he has to file an affidavit of merit (AOM). You state that it is impossible to get all that completed in 6 months. Come on Bill, we live in 2012 and we have faxes, electronic medical records and in the worst case, you could simply drive to the hospital or office with a subpoena and get the medical records in 1 day. You can go on line and find medical experts to review the case in 1 day. There is Federal Express that can deliver documents in a day. So in three days, you have obtained the documents, medical experts and distributed the medical documents to those experts. Yet you are saying that you cannot get medical records and an expert review in 6-9 months. No reasonable person will believe that. You may get a medical review in that time period that you do not like because it does not support your case, and then you have to go “shopping” for an expert. But I totally reject the assertion that you cannot get a medical review in 6-9 months.

  25. jc says:
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    Bill, I am going to take your lung cancer example and expand on it to make it more realistic. The pt comes into the doctor with a hacking cough, etc which could be a number of things including pneumonia and lung cancer. The patient returns and is treated for pneumonia but lung CA is never considered. The patient is not asked to return for followup and despite continued symptoms the patient does not seek medical tx for 6 critical months. When the pt eventually goes to the urgent care center, a CT chest is ordered and lung cancer is found 6 critical months later. The delay in dx reduced the pts chance of survival by 60%, but the pt is also at fault, because he did not followup with his initial doctor thereby contributing to the delay in diagnosis. We will say the pt contributory negligence is 40%.
    Typically the 5 year survival in this situation is dismal and it will take 4 years to try the case. By trial the pt will be on his death bed or in the grave. In traditional malpractice, there is clear negligence here and the negligence was the more likely than not the cause of the patients death. So if the patient is asking for $5 million and wins, even though the patient is 40% responsible, he gets $5 million, because the doctor was greater than 50% responsible for the death of the patient. This is not a loss of a chance case and loss of a chance should not be allowed in this case. Today, only 20 states including Ohio allow, “loss of a chance” and only Ohio has such an expansive view of “loss of a chance”

  26. jc says:
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    Bill the assertion that malpractice liability premiums have no relationship to the medicolegal enviornment of a state is off the wall. 10 years ago, in Ohio we had a major malpractice insurance crisis because the Ohio State Supreme Court would not allow caps on pain and suffering (P & S). We docs and business voted out the offending justices and the OSC then affirmed pain and suffering damages. My malpractice rates dropped 40%! My colleague went down to Texas, with a more favorable malpractice enviornment and his malpractice rates are one third of mine. Now, Ohio malpractice carriers are not 40% better at investing then they were 10 years ago and Texas malpractice companies are not 3 times better at investing than Ohio malpractice carriers. So what is the difference? Well, Texas has a more favorable malpractice enviornment than Ohio and Ohio has a more favorable malpractice enviornment than it did 10 years ago. There is a direct relationship between malpractice rates and the state’s malpractice legal enviornment.

  27. jc says:
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    You call them “entitlements”, I call them fair dealing for doctors and patients. As a society, we protect various industries from abusive litigation for societies benefit. Lose local electrical power, we cannot sue the utilities for damages because such suits would raise electric rates for all. Stockbroker steals money from you, well you gotta go thru arbitration because we want to protect capital markets. Get hurt at work, worker’s compensation pays the bill, because we want to protect the company, and their employees and stockholders from abusive suits. The payoff for tort reform comes when docs feel free to treat patients fairly without undue fear of frivolous litigation. When the pt comes to the ER with a simple headache and we do not feel compelled to order the CT because of the remote chance the pt may have a brain tumor. The Wall Street Journal talks about $100 billion in savings on defensive medicine. I have personally seen a malpractice case progress over 8 years for frivolous reasons in which close to $1,000,000 was spend in legal fees alone. Think of the patients that could have been helped for that $1,000,000. In my view, plaintiff attorneys are the ones who feel entitled to continue dividing up the pie for their own self interest. Notice how, Obamacare did not, in any way affect the legal profession.

  28. jc says:
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    Now lets start talking about the gross incompetence regularly displayed by the incompetent plaintiff’s bar. The earlier case we mentioned from the Ohio Supreme Court is a classic case on point. Here the plaintiff’s attorney had the chart in his hand and failed to subpoena the one physician who was responsible for venous thrombosis prophylaxis. Every other physician on the chart was sued but this attorney failed to sue the doc who was responsible. Yet the client was to stupid to notice the failings of her attorney and did not sue him for obvious legal malpractice. This is a very common occurrence in medical legal malpractice, the plaintiff attorneys are too dumb or poorly trained to be able to shoot straight. Yet because of their affable manner, they almost never get sued for obvious legal malpractice. This is why, I favor giving doctors legal recourse against frivolous malpractice litigation.

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    JC, you’re off the deep end now. How do you know about this “case” and all these plaintiff’s attorneys? You paint with a broad brush–and you speak like attorneys are enemies or doctors. I disagree.

  30. jc says:
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    Bill, that is a case decided by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2009. As for painting a broad brush of plaintiff attorney malpractice and incompetence, well no other industry in America has an 80% failure rate like malpractice plaintiff attorneys and that statistic speaks for itself. So I find it really hypocritical when attorneys write articles critical of doctors as you have sponsored here.

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    Also, you make a lot of assertions. I would be angry if I were you and these were true. They aren’t.

    E.g., “Bill the assertion that malpractice liability premiums have no relationship to the medicolegal enviornment of a state is off the wall.”

    First, it makes no sense to say, “we should allow people to get away with malpractice because their insurance is too high.” How about lowering the malpractice rate? You won’t address that option.

    Second, it is false. You malpractice rates rise and fall with hard and soft market forces on about a 10 year cycle. Here’s a Wharton paper explaining it generally, and the fact that malpractice rate hikes and insurance companies going out of business was do to risky business practices: http://irm.wharton.upenn.edu/F05-Harrington.pdf

    Here’s evidence there is no “malpractice crisis,” and never has been: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Study-finds-no-medical-malpractice-crisis-in-Texas-1937691.php

    Look, i get it, you’re getting gouged by your insurance company, which is bad. Medical malpractice litigation is expensive and traumatic for everyone–no one more, of course, than the victim injured by preventable and stupid errors (and there are plenty of those). Could it be improved? Sure. But deciding to arbitrarily “protect” doctors from our constitutionally-provided civil justice system is backwards and stupid. We’re better than that.

  32. jc says:
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    Bill, the fact that my malpractice rate in Ohio went
    down 40% after caps on p & s is enough proof for me that there is a direct relationship between the medicolegal enviornment in a state and malpractice rates. Wharton does not pay my malpractice premiums
    As for victims of malpractice, well docs who have been sued frivolously are also victims of the medicolegal system. Since 80% of trial cases result in a defense verdict, 80% of the victims of malpractice are doctors. Maybe lawyers should practice law better and reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. I personally believe there should be a way to protect doctors from frivolous litigation. After all, we are Americans and we pay taxes too. The way to protect doctors from this abusive practice is to give doctors a cause of action against plaintiff attorneys. That’s right- – give docs the right to countersue a plaintiffs attorney who files a frivolous malpractice suit. Why should doctors not be afforded a constitutionally protected right to go after abusive plaintiff attorneys and countersue them. This may be a good referendum issue to put before Ohio voters.

  33. jc says:
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    Another thing that might help reduce medical malpractice suits is to establish a Klepac List. This would be a list we docs could go to whenever a plaintiff attorney sued us and screwed up the malpractice case thru their own malpractice. We docs have a vested interest in driving incompetent malpractice attorneys out of business, because it is dumb inexperienced malpractice attorneys who don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground who file all the frivolous malpractice cases. After the case is filed these same dummies won’t drop the case even when it becomes obvious there was no malpractice. I would rather face a competent malpractice lawyer any day of the week because he won’t waste his time on frivolous litigation and will drop a case when it becomes non-meritorous.

  34. Angus Hinson says:
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    I think we can all agree that both competent attorneys and competent doctors are good for society as a whole.

  35. jc says:
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    The problem is Angus that bad plaintiff attorneys are not held accountable. As a doctor, I can’t just walk into a hospital and do neurosurgery, the day after I get my medical license. I have to go thru a residency and show the number of cases that I have preformed to a credentialing committed who will then grant neurosurgical privileges to me. This protects both the doctor and the hospital from liability when eventually a case goes bad. All a plaintiff attorney has to do to sue a doctor is pass the Ohio Bar. Yet these malpractice cases are the most complex litigation around. This explains why plaintiff attorneys lose at trial 80% of the time. Yet plaintiff attorneys do not want to be held accountable for their own incompetence in filing frivolous lawsuits. Yep, the doctor can be held accountable for his mistake, but what happens when a plaintiff attorney frivolous sues a doctor and damages his career- -NOTHING! Doctors should have the right to countersue plaintiff attorneys who file frivolous malpractice suits. This needs to be a referendum ballot issue.

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    JC, you are factually incorrect. Lawyers are sanctioned when they engage in improper behavior (much more than medical boards do, btw). You provide no factual support for any of your allegations. It is truly absurd to think any attorney would chase a bad lawsuit against a doctor. That would be a waste of money.

    The bottom line is that you are angry that if you are sued–by someone who has a CONSTITUTIONAL right to use our civil justice system–you will have to report the lawsuit and (you think, but you are wrong) there will be higher malpractice rates. Guess what? That’s not the injured person’s fault: that is your medical board and your insurance company’s decisions.

    So stop advocating abrogating people’s constitutional rights and either help end the malpractice crisis or change how the medical boards and insurance companies work. Or both.

  37. jc says:
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    Bill, you are factually incorrect. I have never seen a lawyer sanctioned for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. Can you name one? Yet 80% of malpractice cases which are tried in court are defense verdicts as my statistics eariler showed.With 80% of these malpractice cases being frivolous you would think there would be some action against plaintiff attorneys, yet there is none! No American industry in America except for plaintiff attorneys can survive with an 80% failure rate, yet you think that is O.K. because the constitution allows plaintiff attorneys to sue any doctor they want. The way to clean up this corrupt legal system is to give doctors the right to countersue plaintiff attorneys if they lose a malpractice suit and it is frivolous. Let a jury decide if the malpractice action was frivolous and if so, the plaintiff attorney should be held accountable just like doctors and engineers and other meer mortals in the USA.

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    JC, losing a case does not mean it was frivolous, period, full stop. If it was truly frivolous, it would have been tossed out on a motion to dismiss or on summary judgment. Should we sanction defense attorneys when they lose a case, because it must have been a frivolous defense? Come on.

    And plenty of attorneys get sanctioned for bad behavior. There are Rule 11 sanctions within a particular case for frivolous pleadings and motions.

    Bottom line is that a victim has the right to have a jury decide the case–win or lose–if there’s a good faith basis to file and medical expert support. You don’t like that for other reasons, so you’ve fixated on hating lawyers. That’s not helpful. Try focusing on the problems: (1) insurance companies that gouge doctors and outright lie to them as to why; (2) a malpractice crisis that kills almost 100,000 people PER YEAR (the 6th leading cause of death!). That’s absurd.

    Learn http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/8677.htm

  39. jc says:
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    Bill, your assertions are goofy. Everyone knows that if you pay them enough money and you shop long enough, you can find a “medical expert” to say anything. The real reason plaintiff attorneys want to extend the statute of limitations is so they can shop for “medical experts” to bolster their frivolous case. As for sanctions, judges never uphold them even in egregious cases, I know because I was a victim of a case where it became apparent early on that the patient had no case against me and the lawyer still pursued it for 6 years before it was thrown out of court – -no sanctions, because the plaintiff’s attorney donated to the judges campaign. All cases that plaintiff attorneys lose at trial are frivolous! Otherwise they would win the case. The doctor should have the right to countersue the plaintiff attorney for that malpractice suit and let a jury decide if it was frivolous or not. That is the only way you will be able to hold plaintiff attorneys accountable for their 80% loss rate at trial, a failure rate unmatched in American Industry.

  40. jc says:
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    Bottom line Bill is that the medico legal system is a corrupt system built on fraud. The 80% of cases that are won by the defendant doc at trial occurr largely because of fraudulent plaintiff expert testimony which gets exposed thru cross examination at trial. What happens is that the plaintiff attorneys shop for these fraudulent opinions. They pay expert witness fees of $300-$500/hour with expert bills of $15,000 – $30,000 by trial for a couple of days work. Then their expert witness gets up on the stand and his testimony cannot survive cross-examination leading to a defense verdict. Now, the plaintiff’s attorney has to know thru discovery that his expert testimony is bogus and the expert certianly knows it is bogus. Yet there are absolutely no safeguards to prevent this fraud from occurring. Can’t sue the expert because he is just giving his opinion, even though no world medical literature supports his opinion, that is his opinion. Can’t sue the plaintiff attorney. So everyone in the system except the doc and his insurance company are not held accountable. When I talk to judges and ask them why they allow this obviously fraudulent testimony in court, they invariably say, “He’s an expert and I am not, so who am I to judge.” If you have a thousand docs who believe in one course of medical treatment and one doc who is the outlier, the defense gets an expert witness and the plaintiff gets an expert witness and the jury decides. What a corrupt system. Allow docs to countersue plaintiff attorneys for frivolous malpractice suits and you can instantly bring justice to this system.