Medical Errors

President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association Richard Binko published atricle in the Buffalo News on Medical Malpractice.

Medical errors kill thousands, drive up costs of health care

September 03, 2009, 7:07 AM /
The News’ recent story on medical malpractice missed the point. While it correctly cited data that medical malpractice claims make up only one-fifth of 1 percent of all health care costs in this country, it failed to discuss the role medical errors play in our health care system.
According to a landmark study by the National Academy of Sciences, mistakes by doctors and other health care providers take the lives of as many as 98,000 Americans every year—and cause hugely expensive complications in hundreds of thousands of other cases. Any serious discussion of medical malpractice must begin with reducing its frequency, not denying compensation to its victims.
If any subject is given too little attention in the health care reform debate, it is patient safety. There are simple, proven ways to prevent medical errors. The challenge is persuading health care providers to adopt them. Many new protocols and safety measures resulted from the National Academy of Sciences report. But health care experts agree that we are nowhere near the report’s goal of reducing medical errors by half in 10 years. Curtailing patients’ rights to seek redress for negligence would only remove an established incentive for improvement.
Richard Binko
President, New York StateTrial Lawyers Association

President of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association Richard Binko published atricle on Medical Malpractice.

First published: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
John Faso makes a number of provocative points in his commentary, “Health reform begins here,” Aug. 31. However, he does not discuss the overlooked issue of patient safety. 
In a landmark study, the national Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 Americans die each year because of preventable medical errors. In addition to costing lives, these mistakes — and others that do not result in death — cause billions of dollars of unnecessary medical expenses. This is the true malpractice crisis. 
Faso’s suggestion that the civil justice system needs reform risks making our health care system more dangerous. A strong civil justice system protects patients from malpractice and encourages doctors and other providers to do everything they can to avoid preventable errors. 
We beg to differ with Mr. Faso that we have a problem with doctors fleeing our state. In fact, while the state’s population has increased by 6 percent since 1995, the number of physicians has risen 20 percent. The real problem is not too few doctors — it’s too many medical errors and not enough emphasis on patient safety. 
Richard Binko 
New York State Trial Lawyers Association