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Topics in Medical Economics: Medical Malpractice
Joseph Bernstein, MD, MS1; Duncan MacCourt, JD, MD2; Bruce D. Abramson, PhD, JD3
1 University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 424 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail address: orthodoc@post.harvard.edu
2 Worcester State Hospital, 305 Belmont Street, Worcester, MA 01604. E-mail address: duncan.maccourt@state.ma.us
3 Informationism, Inc. San Francisco, CA 94103. E-mail address: bdabramson@gmail.com
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Disclosure: In support of their research for or preparation of this work, one or more of the authors received, in any one year, outside funding or grants of $10,000 from the Manhattan Institute. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2008 Aug 01;90(8):1777-1782. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.00951
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Our system of addressing medical malpractice is broken. We can say that the system is broken not so much because insurance premiums are high or because physicians are demoralized—though these features certainly are not assets either—but because the system fails to accomplish the very things for which it was built: to deter errors before they occur and to compensate the victims of errors that take place nonetheless. In today's broken system, some patients who are injured by malpractice are not compensated, whereas some of those who do receive payment have not truly suffered medical negligence. Because of this imprecision, verdicts lose their power to rebuke and deter. Compounding this is a third problem: the costs of litigation and the defensive medicine that it promotes exact a high price on an already overtaxed health spending budget.
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