Medical Malpractice

  • The present litigation system is essentially broken
  • Interested parties are: Patients; physicians; hospitals and other provider systems; malpractice insurers; plaintiffs’ counsel
  • Traditionally antagonistic interests and objectives among these parties
  • How can those interests be most effectively reconciled?
    • Weed out claims with little or no merit (no error or minimal damage)
    • Avoid protracted, expensive litigation that fundamentally serves no legitimate interest
    • Allow means for physicians and hospitals to recognize error, improve care and protect reputation
    • Role of disclosure and apology

Encourage use of early mediation as the vehicle:

  • As soon as the claim is made
  • The value of neutral involvement to keep the focus on interests
  • Consensual and non-threatening; do not agree if interests are not met
  • Even if there is no early resolution, the issues can be narrowed
  • The chance for more creative solutions
  • Puts the solution in the hands of the parties rather than the courts or legislature imposing approaches with unintended consequences
  • Hospitals are employing more physicians and can have more say in the process
  • The hang up still may be the insurers. They must see a benefit in the early mediation process