Malpractice reforms work
That 40 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are groundless should serve as a reminder to East Texans of why we supported reforms here and a wake-up call to Congress about the need for a national remedy to end abusive lawsuits.
It takes time and money to defend lawsuits — even those that have no basis in fact and where no one was harmed. A recent study showed that it takes an average of five years to defend a medical malpractice claim. Most interestingly, almost half of every dollar awarded to a patient went to their attorney or for other expenses. Even in these baseless cases — where there was no medical error or injury — the average settlement was a stunning $313,000. As we saw in Texas, high rates of groundless and abusive claims drive good doctors out of practice — especially in high-risk specialties — which ultimately means less access to care for patients.
We know malpractice reforms work. Since the passage of Proposition 12 here, almost 4,000 more physicians are practicing in Texas, and the Board of Medical Examiners has more than 4,000 applications pending. Many of these new doctors are joining high-risk specialties like obstetrics and neurosurgery.
Other states and the federal government should learn what Texas knows: Malpractice reforms work and increase access to care for patients.
—Diane Davis, Executive Director
East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse