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Lawmakers looking into revamp of medical malpractice cases

The powers that be in Washington are looking at revamping the medical malpractice tort system. Some elected officials seem to think that there is a crisis involving medical malpractice claims; however, experts say this isn't the case. These experts note that even if you take out the inflation rate adjustments, doctors today are paying less for malpractice insurance than what they were paying in 2001.

Some say that the issue at hand now is that Republican lawmakers are trying to use a non-existent problem to revamp the system. These lawmakers want to make it easier for doctors to defend themselves in malpractice cases. They want to place harsh limits on damage awards that victims of medical malpractice can receive. Essentially, they want the burden of proof increased for the people who have been harmed by surgical errors, failure to diagnose and other similar issues that occur when doctors aren't acting in a fully responsible manner.

Even though 250,000 lives are claimed annually because of errors made by medical professionals, proponents of the changes are claiming that "billions of dollars" are wasted on medical malpractice claims each year. Opponents of the changes note that this is nothing more than lobbying by the medical industry in an effort to limit liability in order to contain costs that are passed down when doctors are negligent.

On top of the caps that are being considered, changes to the standards of care are also being considered. Republicans say that setting clinical guidelines is imperative to helping keep costs down. Experts disagree and note that only around 15 percent of medical malpractice cases would be affected by these guidelines.

While it is important to keep an eye on this issue, patients who are currently suffering because of surgical errors or medical malpractice might be ready to take action now. Learning how to do this is one of the first steps you can take if you suffered at the hands of a medical professional who provided substandard care.

Source: SC Now, "Top Republicans say there's a medical malpractice crisis; Experts say there isn't," Chad Terhune, Jan. 02, 2017

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