Time to turn our attention to an unpleasant topic: Lawsuits.

Who files them?

Why? And what actually happens?

There have been oceans of ink spilled about medical malpractice. An oversimplification of the various positions on malpractice and malpractice reform goes something like this:

  1. (+) Malpractice suits are good. They keep healthcare professionals and hospitals on their toes; if the threat of a big payout improves safety and quality, then lawsuits provide an important regulatory function. Also, they give the vulnerable patient a chance to rectify an error, a mishap, or an injustice.
  2. (-) Malpractice suits are detrimental. Yes, there are outliers, but 98.5% of medicine is practiced safely and effectively. Bad outcomes happen as part of the natural course of medical practice. As long as patients are informed beforehand about the risks inherent in any medical undertaking, they must understand that there are no guarantees in life.

Here, too, is an oversimplification of the politics of malpractice reform:

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