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Study Shows Medical Malpractice Litigation Improves Healthcare

The debate in the New York State legislature in June 2013 around Lavern’s Law, so named for a Kings County Hospital patient who died due to a missed lung cancer diagnosis, centers around a quirk in the state’s patients in the Empire State must file suit within 30 months of a medical mistake occurring, creating obvious problems for people who may not even know the mistake was made until after that time passes (as it did for the bill’s namesake).

An assistant professor of law at the University of California/Los Angeles finds that litigation actually motivates better and safer healthcare practices.

How does that work? Joanna C. Schwartz, the UCLA professor, surveyed more than 400 hospital risk and claims managers and found the risk of litigation drove greater transparency on the part of the hospitals. Other findings of Schwartz’ research includes:

  • Malpractice litigation provides valuable information about medical errors that leads to solutions.
  • The discovery process in malpractice litigation unearths safety and quality issues not found by other means.
  • Litigation leads to greater, not less, transparency.

If you think you suffered as the result of a medical mistake, contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in New York State is 2 ½ years from the date of the occurrence.

In addition in cases involving municipal hospitals a Notice of Claim must be filed as well within 90 days of the occurrence for injuries and for wrongful death within 90 days of the appointment of an administrator or executor.

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