Torts And Consumer Protection: Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform
Medical malpractice is one area where tort reform is argued most heavily. Some concerns are that caps on damages might result in costs that ultimately fall on the taxpayer; other concerns are the increase in medical expenses for tests ordered before diagnosis by physicians hoping to eliminate a future claim of medical malpractice.
First, research medical malpractice for an understanding of the elements of this cause of action. Then, read the following two articles and answer the questions posed.
Kenney, K. (2009, Aug. 9). Fixing health care reform requires tort reform. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2009/08/fixing_health_care_requires_to.html
Doroshow, J. (2009, Nov. 9). Medical malpractice tort reform-we are already suffering and don’t need more. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanne-doroshow/medical-malpractice-tort_b_350573.html
What must the plaintiff prove to prevail in a claim of medical malpractice? Clearly define this legal doctrine, including the element of this cause of action. How does medical malpractice differ from a standard negligence claim?
What defenses, if any, exist for a claim of medical malpractice?
Evaluate arguments for and against tort reform in the area of medical malpractice. You are encouraged to illustrate your arguments by using real case examples, either researched or from the material provided.
Include new thoughts or ideas based on the module information. This is your reflection/insight that logically would flow from each information point presented.
As a helpful explanation, in the area of torts we see many causes of action that are comprised of “elements.” For instance, if we discuss a situation involving negligence, we would define negligence stating, “Negligence occurs when a person’s conduct falls below the standard of care, resulting in a breach of duty which is the direct and proximate cause of injury to another person or thing. The elements of negligence are 1) duty; 2) breach; 3) causation; and 4) damages.” Then, each element would be analyzed, determining whether each one was met. It is imperative that each element of a tort claim is met for the plaintiff to prevail in a suit.
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