Today is day three of our series on “Five Myths of Medical Malpractice,” presented by our Chicago injury and wrongful death attorneys. Time for Myth #3:
Medical Negligence Myth #3: Doctors are Fleeing
Numerous studies, including a recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has debunked the argument that doctors are “fleeing” states with stronger medical malpractice liability laws, and they are not fleeing the United States.
Furthermore, doctors are not fleeing the practice of medicine. Indeed, the AAJ report demonstrates that the number of physicians is rising faster than the overall population. According to the report, there are “twice as many physicians per 100,000 population” as there were in the 1960s — the American Medical Association (AMA) did not start tracking physician numbers until the 1960s. A chart illustrates steady growth in the number of physicians per 100,000 people from 1998 to 2007, the most recent year for which data is available.
Nevertheless, this myth of doctors fleeing because of medical malpractice lawyers and liability persists. Tort reformists argue that arbitrary caps on “non-economic” damages, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement and loss of normal life, in medical malpractice cases, will prevent such medical professionals from fleeing.
However, the empirical data does not support the argument that doctors are moving their practice to states that have such damage caps. Instead, the number of practicing physicians has increased in every state. Further, the total number of practicing physicians is greater in states that do not place caps on damages than states with caps.
For a free consultation with a top Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.