Malpractice awards provoke finger-pointing, but few easy answers

New York Sun
Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Almost everyone agrees that there’s a problem when it comes to medical malpractice, but doctors, lawyers, insurers, and consumer groups disagree on who’s to blame.

The Sun reported yesterday that medical liability insurance and rising awards in malpractice suits have already forced doctors in Philadelphia and Las Vegas to flee to areas with lower insurance or quit the profession altogether, and that New York physicians say the same might happen here within two years. But doctors aren’t the only people involved in this debate – there’s plenty of finger-pointing to go around.


The executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a [New York]-based consumer group, Joanne Doroshow, said the problem doesn’t stem from poorly regulated doctors but from out-of-control insurers. “There’s a problem, but it’s an insurance problem,” she said. “This has nothing to do with claims or lawsuits or liability.”

She charged that doctors were trying to “extort tort reform” by piggybacking off of what’s been classified by the American Medical Association as a national crisis of medical liability insurance, even though the New York State insurance department decided not to allow a rate increase this year.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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