If you are seeking a Louisiana lawyer about a possible medical negligence case in which you or a family member has been injured, or a death has resulted, please contact us for a free consultation. The lawyers of our firm have served clients in Shreveport and all of Louisiana for over half a century. In that time our attorneys have obtained verdicts at trial or in settlements in negligence and other cases worth millions of dollars for our clients.

It is clear that, although the United States provides some of the best health care in the world, the numbers of errors in health care are at unacceptably high levels. A report by the Institute of Medicine estimates that more than half of the adverse medical events occurring each year are due to preventable medical errors, causing the death of tens of thousands. The cost associated with these errors in lost income, disability, and health care costs is as much as $29 billion annually. Another recent study found that more than one in six hospitalized patients suffered medical injuries that prolonged their hospital stays.

According to the Institute of Medicine, medical errors kill as many as 98,000 Americans annually. However, this accounts only for deaths occurring in hospitals, and does not consider medical offices, pharmacies, outpatient surgical suites and nursing homes. Medical error is the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. and more than double the number of deaths from car accidents.

A Harvard Medical Practice Study found that nearly 4 percent of patients suffered an injury that caused their hospital stays to be prolonged, or resulted in measurable disability. The study also found that almost 14 percent of those identified as having suffered medical injury died as a result of their injuries. If the rate of deaths resulting from medical error identified by the Harvard Study were consistent with rates in all states, that would mean that 180,000 Americans die annually as a result of medical injuries. Most significantly, the Harvard Study determined that 69 percent of the medical injuries identified were due to error, and were, therefore, preventable.

Preventable medical error and injury are of particular concern for older people because there is evidence that they are injured at a substantially higher rate than patients in other age groups. Patients age 65 and older experience medical injury two to four times as often as patients in age groups under the age of 45.

Despite the propaganda otherwise, the facts clearly show that lawsuits are not driving up the cost of health care. The cost of insurance comprises about one-half percent of the national health care budget. Most victims of medical negligence never file suit. Only one in eight patients who could file suit ever do so. Medical negligence suits comprise less than 8% of the civil suits in American courts.

A recent article in the journal Health Affairs found that medical malpractice insurance premiums have not steadily risen and do not constitute a crisis for medical practices. It quotes a survey of the American Medical Association which showed that physician malpractice premiums were actually lower in 2000 that they were in 1986.

There have been repeated attempts to impose on the states a federal cap on damages in medical negligence cases. However, in 2003, Weiss Ratings, an independent insurance rating agency, found that despite caps on economic damages enacted in 19 states, "most insurers continued to increase premiums (for doctors) at a rapid pace, regardless of caps." Caps did not reduce awards, they only slowed the increase in the size of awards paid by malpractice insurers, and insurers failed to pass along any savings to those physicians in states with caps, refusing even in those states to lower physicians’ insurance premiums. The report concluded that "consumers must not relinquish their right to sue for non-economic damages until the medical profession and/or state and federal governments provide more adequate supervision and regulation of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. The imposition of caps will not make a significant dent in the problem, and may even have adverse impacts. It is no substitute for longer-term, fundamental solutions that address the actual factors."

In addition to our core practice of medical negligence claims involving doctors and hospitals, we are also available for consultation on claims for nursing home negligence, serious personal injury, accident, wrongful death, and serious workers' compensation injury and death. As there are legal time limits which apply in all negligence claims, you should contact our law firm as soon as possible. We look forward to assisting you.

Caldwell & Caldwell
8848 Youree Drive
Shreveport, Louisiana 71115-2512
318.798.2092 (fax)




Louisiana Medical Malpractice

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