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A hat tip this morning to Andrew Cochran at The 7th Amendment Advocate for tweeting a link to Diederich Healthcare's telling medical malpractice infographic.

The statistics are unsurprising to those who have fought battles to keep courthouse doors open for injured victims… but these statistics are surprising in that they come from a medical malpractice insurance company.

The Diederich infographic is telling in a number of areas:

No National Medical Malpractice Crisis

As Andrew Cochran pointed out, it demonstrates there is no national medical malpractice crisis. Nearly half of all medical malpractice payouts came from only five states (Florida, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, and New York).

No Medical Malpractice Crisis At All

More than one data set shows that there is no medical malpractice crisis at all. For example, the infographic shows that overall medical malpractice payments have been steadily declining since 2003. Med Mal payments in 2012 were 3.4% lower than the year before.

The data also shows that "runaway juries" or "excessive" jury awards are not part of any alleged "problem" with medical malpractice. Only 5% of all medical malpractice awards in 2012 resulted from a jury award by way of a judgment following trial. However, 93% of medical malpractice payments were made voluntarily by the doctor, hospital, or health care provider by way of settlement.

Finally, the data shows that the vast majority (approximately 80%) of payouts were for major, significant permanent injuries or death. The included:

  • Death: 31%
  • Significant Permanent Injury: 19%
  • Major Permanent Injury: 18%
  • Quadriplegic, Brain Damage, Lifelong Care: 12%
Source: Diederich Healthcare

In Missouri, anti-7th Amendment and anti-Justice groups like the Chamber of Commerce have tried to claim our state suffers from a medical malpractice "lawsuit crisis". These statistics prove that's just not so. The facts simply do not fit the rhetoric.

In Missouri, doctors aren't fleeing the state. The number of doctors per patient in Missouri has grown steadily over the last 40 years. That's true even for so-called "high risk" specialties like neurosurgeons and OB-GYNs.

I'm glad to see this data from Diederich Healthcare and the Diederich Insurance Agency. Maybe we can finally put the false claims of a medical malpractice lawsuit crisis behind us and start focusing on protecting patients and upholding the constitution.

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© Copyright 2013 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

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