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Obamacare’s Impact on Medical Malpractice

Although Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act, will be phased-in gradually after January 2014, there’s already much preparation being made for how it will alter the healthcare landscape – especially with regards to medical malpractice law.

Doctors, insurance providers, and legal experts all over the country have already made some predictions about what to expect in this regard, albeit with differing conclusions.

Many believe that medical malpractice claims will increase due to the influx of newly insured people. As tens of millions Americans seek medical care they couldn’t previously afford, the rate of medical mistakes – and subsequent malpractice claims – will likely increase proportionately. Even if it didn’t, the sheer number of patients may raise the occurrence of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Others feel that the number of malpractice claims will remain unchanged, because there won’t be an increase in patients after all. Whereas many uninsured people now utilize hospital emergency rooms for primary care, they will now shift to private practitioners. This shift may not have any impact at all on claims, but may impact who the claims will impact.

A third possibility is that medical malpractice claims will actually decrease because Obamacare not only provides health insurance to the uninsured, but eliminates the co-pays and deductibles for essential healthcare benefits. As a result, people will be receiving more preventative care, will be less likely to develop long-term problems, and will make it easier for health care providers to address medical conditions before they become serious.

Of course, since the act is still being implemented – and there’s no telling if or how it will change along the way – we can’t be sure which outcome will result. Whatever the circumstances, one thing is for sure: the Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyers of the Leto Law Firm will be here to help. Justin Leto has consistently been recognized as one of South Florida’s most effective attorneys, so you can rest assured that his professional and experienced team will be prepared to handle your case effectively.

Drug Errors and Missed Diagnoses Making Up Most Primary Care Malpractice Claims

 
 

Most people believe that the leading cases of medical malpractice are brought from injuries caused in a hospital environment or from the treatment of a doctor. While medical malpractice committed by hospital based doctors, surgeons and hospitals is a serious area of concern in the legal and medical communities, a considerable percentage of claims every year are from missed diagnoses and prescription drug errors that lead to serious and oftentimes catastrophic injuries. These cases are usually the result of negligence of a primary care or family doctor in their own private practices. Today, primary care physicians are being named as defendants in malpractice suits at an accelerating rate, and the trend is prominent not just in the U.S, but also in the U.K. and Australia.

 

Published data in BMJ Open, an online forum dedicated to publishing medical research, indicates that the majority of malpractice claims brought against doctors are from missed diagnoses- particularly of cancer, heart attack, and meningitis- as well as drug errors. In the United States, studies indicate that malpractice claims brought against primary care doctors accounted for between 7.6% and 16%, the majority of which were on account of missed diagnoses. In the UK, the suits are increasing at the fastest rate, while in Australia, the claims against general practitioners accounts for the both the highest number and highest rate of increase. The most common result of these medical errors was the patient’s death and most of the deaths reported from these missed diagnosis were preventable if the proper care was instituted. Similarly, the second most-common sources of malpractice claims were drug errors, the proportion of which ranged 5.6% to 20% across all studies.

 

Despite the number of malpractice cases brought against primary care physicians, a substantial proportion of claims were unsuccessful, with only a third of U.S. claims ending up in a pay-out to the victim, either through verdict or settlement. At the Leto Law Firm, we specialize in Medical Malpractice-among other areas- and have extensive experience handling such cases for victims and their families. To contact one of our expert Miami medical malpractice lawyers, call 305-577-8448, or visit LetoLaw.com.