Medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida are not just about obtaining money for plaintiffs; they are also about calling attention to situations that may need to be addressed. When a patient or a family sues a provider or institution after he, she or a loved one has suffered injuries, it may be the only way to get the person or facility to recognize that there is a problem and take steps toward correction.
Professional organizations demonstrate reluctance to accept procedural changes that have shown to save lives, prevent serious injuries and reduce the amount of malpractice payments. A New York hospital reduced its number of death and serious injury cases from 1.04 per 1,000 deliveries to zero. Simultaneously, victim compensation dropped from more than $50 million to $250,000. However, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists will not recommend a broad implementation of the hospital’s improved procedures for fear that they will limit a hospital’s or doctor’s choices.
An alternative to filing a lawsuit is filing a complaint with the Joint Commission on accreditation. This organization is responsible for promoting and monitoring hospital safety and quality. Even this step may seem futile, as only one-third of the 3,300 hospitals that the commission has accredited have earned the ‘top performer” evaluation. Furthermore, the commission does not even accredit more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals.
Some experts believe that until the medical industry is ready to do a better job of policing itself, one of the best alternatives available to a patient who has been harmed while receiving care is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A lawyer could review the situation and help the person or family determine the best course of action to take.
Source: Forbes, “Malpractice Lawsuits Aren’t Just About Money“, Steve Cohen, June 18, 2014