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Medical Malpractice Problems In Florida. Essay

1252 words - 5 pages

Medical Malpractice insurance covers doctors and other healthcare professionals for liability claims arising from their treatment of patients. The insurance companies of medical malpractice are charged on two different accounts: non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, humiliation, shame, inconvenience and hurt feelings; and economic damages, which are damages "verifiable monetary losses incurred" by the victims of malpractice (Law 1). Within those lines fall medical expenses and loss of wages. There is no way yet to accurately measure the cost of inconvenience. Those against malpractice lawsuits believe that trial lawyers "seek to find the least knowledgeable group of people available to act as jurors, overwhelm them with confusing and incomprehensible medical evidence, inflame them with accounts of the plaintiff's suffering and then demand substantial payments from defendants invariably portrayed as wealthy and uncaring" (Law 2). With Florida being one of the twelve states without an economic damage cap, the crisis will lead to deterioration of patient access to medical care due to physicians not performing high risk procedures, physicians retiring early from practicing medicine, and the overall reduction of quality health care. A limit would allow for doctors to be able to afford malpractice insurance along with a competition of what company will carry their insurance.Throughout history, medical malpractice has been an issue prevailing in the 1950's. The awareness was dramatically increased when a popular magazine called the Saturday Evening Post printed a series of articles entitled "Medicine's Legal Nightmare" in 1959" (Medical 4). As more citizens began to file malpractice lawsuits during the 1960's and 1970's, doctors went out and got malpractice insurance to protect themselves against any threat of an expensive lawsuit. As a result of the demand for malpractice insurance, premiums greatly rose for "hospitals by 263%; for physicians they increased 541%; and for surgeons, they went up 949%" (Medical 4). As the 1980's approached, the average award for a malpractice lawsuit was an astonishing one million dollars. As the awards rose in the mid 1980's, so did the insurance premium. The premiums had started at "$1,300 a month in 1970 and rose an astonishing $8,400 dollars a month" (Medical 4). With the majority of the states within the US having economic damage caps, the estimation for what doctors and hospitals pay for insurance has reached approximately "ten billion dollars a year" (Medical 4).What people don't realize is that as the cost of medical malpractice insurance rises, the cost of this insurance is being passed onto patients in the form of higher health care fees. The cost to visit a doctor or undergo a medical procedure "rose at three times the rate of inflation from the 1980's to the early 1990's" (Medical 5). This situation has greatly impacted the state of Florida's healthcare, especially general surgeons. A large...

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