Press Release: Center For Justice & Democracy Releases New Briefing Book: Medical Malpractice By The Numbers

Monday, June 25, 2018

For Release June 25, 2018
Joanne Doroshow [email protected]

Center For Justice & Democracy Releases New
Briefing Book: Medical Malpractice - By The Numbers

The Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School (CJ&D) released today the 10th update to its MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: BY THE NUMBERS briefing book.  The book compiles the latest statistics and research on issues related to medical malpractice in a fully-sourced 184-page volume, including over 800 footnotes linking to original sources.  Principal author of the briefing book is Emily Gottlieb, CJ&D’s Deputy Director for Law and Policy.  The book is edited by CJ&D Executive Director Joanne Doroshow.

Topics include: medical malpractice litigation, health care costs and “defensive medicine,” physician supply and access to health care, medical malpractice insurance, patient safety, and special problems for vets and military families.  Among the many new research findings since CJ&D’s last December 2017 update are:

  • Medical malpractice cases constitute only 0.17 percent of state civil caseloads.

  • Paid malpractice claims have stayed essentially unchanged for the last decade.

  • Despite the #MeToo movement, two-thirds of doctors engaged in sexual misconduct face no medical board discipline. This includes repeat offenders.

  • Physicians who commit wrongdoing, such as sexual misconduct, peddling opioids or botching surgeries, often “hopscotch” from one state to another and continue practicing.

  • Contrary to popular belief, malpractice liability has no impact on whether or not a physician decides to deliver a baby via C-section.

  • Despite charging doctors historically low rates, medical malpractice insurance companies are raking in substantial profits as a result of “the soaring 2017 financial markets.”

  • More that 260 patients have died since 2013 after in-and-out procedures at surgery centers - operations that should have been done in hospitals.

Said Doroshow, “Medical malpractice insurance companies are raking in profits, premiums and claims are flat, and hundreds of thousands of patients die each year due to medical errors. Yet organized medicine is still pushing laws that would reduce the accountability of unsafe hospitals and incompetent physicians. In Arkansas, these special interests are even pushing a ballot initiative to strip away the constitutional rights of injured patients.

“We have an enormous patient safety problem in this nation. Even sexual misconduct by physicians is going largely unchecked.  The last thing we should do is try to solve these problems by increasing the obstacles harmed patients face in the already difficult process of bringing a case against the person or institution that harmed them.”

A copy of the full briefing book can be found here:



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