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Tort Reform? How About Improved Patient Safety

Medical malpractice claims are reduced when patient safety improves. Anesthesiologists as a group have proved this point.

Over the past couple of decades anesthesiologists have focused on improving patient safety. According to studies compiled by the Institute of Medicine, patient deaths due to anesthesia have declined to one death per 200,000 to 300,000 cases from one for every 5,000 cases. As a result, malpractice insurance for anesthesiologists has actually decreased over the past 20 years once inflation has been taken into account.

These anesthesiologists should be looked at as an example for the rest of the medical profession. They have simultaneously increased patient safety and reduced their malpractice insurance costs. Therefore, instead of placing an arbitrary number on damages that will further injure patients, the burden should be placed on doctors and other medical providers to improve patient safety.

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