A medical malpractice suit is a compensatory measure that you file after coming to harm while under a doctor’s care. It can be a difficult process for you, as well as costly for the physician and his or her insurer.
As a result, many doctors take a dim view of malpractice suits, however justified or necessary they may be. On the other hand, CNBC reports that some doctors and hospitals, as well as the insurance companies that represent them, are looking at past malpractice suits as a learning tool. They identify patterns in the types of complaints they are getting and use these as guidance to improve patient care.
When a significant number of malpractice cases relate to a specific condition, the doctors and health care facilities can examine their practices to determine where they can make changes for a consistently better patient outcome. For example, a hospital in San Diego, California, started requiring that a doctor examine every major wound before suturing after many complaints of foreign-body contamination and infection from patients with puncture wounds from stingrays. Before, physician assistants or nurses would suture the wounds in the emergency room without a doctor’s input.
Future patients stand to benefit from improved practices that doctors implement on the basis of past malpractice suits. Doctors also stand to benefit from fewer lawsuits in the future and a better reputation for patient care.
As an injured patient who files a malpractice suit, you not only stand to receive compensation, but you also have the knowledge that by drawing attention to the provider’s shortcomings, you may help other patients receive better quality care in the future.