In 2008, close to $80 billion was spent on medical injuries and costs related to them. Of this, $19.5 billion was spent on preventable medical errors. These numbers are from a study commissioned by the U.S. Society of Actuaries (SOA), a group of highly-intelligent individuals used to looking at the big picture and diagnosing problems and opportunities.
Both the picture and the problem are big in this case, as healthcare costs in the United States skyrocket. More often than not, medical malpractice reward caps are brought up as a solution to healthcare affordability. Malpractice lawyers are painted as greedy and injured patients are usually just looked over completely.
Still, in 2008, the economy absorbed nearly $20 billion in additional costs due to hospital negligence, medical malpractice and practitioner error.
55 percent of these medical injuries involved at least one of five things.
There certainly is no one solution to America’s healthcare crisis, but any solution must start from the willingness to consider all options. Instead of penalizing the victims of medical malpractice, the field needs to take a hard look at its own shortcomings and consider ways to address them.