Again, the big picture facts of medical malpractice from the best national studies are:
- 4 in 10 suits filed are done so when there is no medical error (many of these are dismissed or are lost by the plaintiff at trial)
- only 1 in 20 cases of actual negligence result in a lawsuit being brought.
- These two factoids and many other links are backed up here.
One random aside about this issue. When I teach undergrads at Duke in a health policy class with many pre-meds, they worry a great deal about someday being judged by a jury filled with ordinary people, who will not be experts on evidence, medical care and the like. When I ask them if they are bothered by the fact that the same jury pool--again, not likely to have expertise in serology, forensics and the like--on which many criminal felony trials turn, they are not bothered that such persons deprive others of their liberty. I think that just means that Duke undergrads can imagine being a defendant in a medical malpractice case, but cannot imagine being one in a violent felony, for example. The bed rock of our judicial system is that normal people decide. I could be in favor of medical courts for malpractice, but shouldn't all the worries that lead there, also lead me to worry about juries deciding criminal cases?