The cost of New York medical malpractice lawsuits has been in the spotlight during the tort reform for some time now. We all know that medical malpractice is a costly mistake. And despite the advanced of technology and medical training, the risk of medical malpractice can never be eliminated completely. This is because of the human element presence; machines cannot perform the operations alone. Therefore, a more careful analysis of the problem is required.
For example, a recent news article reported that New York City has paid out $134 million this year for New York medical malpractice at eleven of the public hospitals. In fact, there were 270 cases of New York medical malpractice during last year’s fiscal year; which ended on June 30th. The article also noted that city records showed these mishaps ranged from accidents during child birth to fatal misdiagnoses. As the article acknowledges, the medical malpractice that occurs at these public hospitals forces taxpayers to pay these increased costs.
But with an incident of medical malpractice every 1.3 days, how do you lower these costs? It is very easy to say just cap the awards. Particularly as a taxpayer, when we see that New York City ended up paying $5.3 million dollars to a single plaintiff that it is absolutely ridiculous. That we—as taxpayers—are being forced to pay such excessive lawsuits at the hands of greedy New York medical malpractice attorneys. But what taxpayers do not know are the FACTS.
In the $5.3 million lawsuit noted above, an otherwise healthy baby boy’s life is permanently affected by a hospital’s negligence. The mother went to the hospital when she felt contractions and was seen by a doctor at 9:20am. Labor was induced and then the mother was not seen again by another doctor until almost 3pm. At that time, the baby’s heart rate had dropped dangerously low which resulted in a loss of oxygen to his brain. However, instead of performing an emergency C-section, the hospital’s medical staff had the mother continue to try and give birth and were even pushing down on her stomach to get the baby out! As a result, the baby was born with an incredibly high heart rate, not breathing, having seizures, and with a skull fracture from the pushing which caused bleeding. The poor baby boy ended up permanently disabled and will have significant difficulty walking and speaking. It was for this great negligent—both as an omission in failing to complete a C-section and affirmatively by pushing down on the baby—was the mother and baby boy awarded $5.3 million. Now knowing the facts, that amount of money is hardly enough to justify the loss of one’s life and enjoyment.
There is no easy solution here. It is obvious that, when medical malpractice does result, there are many victims. Most obviously there is the patient. The interests of the patient must take precedent here. When there is medical malpractice, a victim’s physical health and well-being is adversely affected. Sometimes, no amount of money can fix the harm done to a patient; this is particularly true when the medical malpractice results in permanent disability or death. In addition, a patient’s emotional well-being may also be affected. This also may cause a catastrophic and long-lasting effect on a patient’s life.
As a Kingston medical malpractice attorney, I understand that the costs of New York medical malpractice are incredibly expensive. I know that taxpayers are uncomfortable paying such large amounts of money for a patient’s “pain and suffering.” But we need to realize, these are not patients. These are victims. These are people who may never have the same life again because of this negligence. We need to remember this when we talk about the costs of medical malpractice—no matter how high they are.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.