The Real Truth About Medical Malpractice Cases

06/27/2009 | Medical Malpractice

I am so tired of uninformed people telling me that we need tort reform in Kentucky to keep good doctors in the state. Too many people wrongly believe that juries are shoveling money at injured patients like the government bailing out the auto makers.  

Money Down The Drain


Well the TRUTH of the matter is quite the opposite.  In fact, the absolute worst kind of case to take before a jury is a medical malpractice case.  Juries don't like to think doctors make serious mistakes that injure or kill.  Couple that with the fact that most people sitting on juries have been drinking the insurance company Kool-Aid for so long that they actually believe the hype about medical malpractice suits being out of control and jeapordizing health care.  So, when most people get on a medical malpractice jury, they are already predisposed to side with the doctor.  


Think I'm making this up?  Well, here are the actual statistics in kentucky on medical malpractice cases from the Kentucky Trial Court Review 2008.

In 2008, fifty-six medical malpractice cases were tried.  The patient prevailed 11 times.  That means the healthcare provider won 45 times.  You don't need to be a statistics major to do the math.  If you were a patient in a med mal lawsuit in Kentucky in 2008, you had about a 19.6%  you would win at trial.  Heck, you'd be better of taking the $100,000 - $200,000 it takes to get a medical malpractice case to trial over to the boat and play blackjack.  At least in blackjack the House only has an 8% advantage over the player.  Or better yet, bet it all on black in roulette, you have a 47% chance of winning.

Some of you may be asking, "Is gambling really a proper analogy for going to trial in a medical malpractice case?"  Sure it is, in the few cases that the plaintiffs won, the juries awarded a total of $26,785,227 (this is in the entire state of Kentucky)  divide that number by the number of trials, (56) and the average verdict was $478,307.  So, if I told you I was going to give you $100,000 in cash (the amount of money it would take to get a medical malpractice case to trial) and gave you the option of going to trial were you have a 19.6% chance of winning an average of $478,000, or taking it to Caesar's and betting it all on black were you have a 47% chance of winning, where would the smart money play?

Please don't tell me our system of justice is a "lawsuit lottery."  There is no place for that kind ignorance when dealing with catastrophically injured patients.  Limiting the amount of money severely injured patients can recover does nothing to "fix" the system.  The system is broken alright, its just broken in favor of the healthcare providers.  And that's the REAL TRUTH.

Hans