The civil justice system serves as the only real avenue to enforce a patient’s basic right to safety. Just as product liability lawsuits force corporations to develop and market safer products for all consumers, medical malpractice lawsuits lead to better and safer delivery of health care.
For example, anesthesiologists were motivated by litigation to improve patient safety. As a result, that profession implemented some 34-years ago a program to make anesthesia safer for patients. And, as a result, the risk of death from anesthesia dropped from 1 in 5,000 to about 1 in 250,000. Hamilton v. Allen, 267 S.W.3d at 627, 639, (2006), Baker J. in dissent, quoting “The Patient’s Right to Safety-Improving the quality of Care through Litigation Against Hospitals,” New England Journal of Medicine, May 11, 2006.
Doctors and other healthcare providers are human and commit human errors. When those errors cause injury, the injured party has a constitutional right to redress.
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