Medical Malpractice is Still a Problem Says Michigan Attorney Terry Cochran

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Medical errors are the eighth leading cause of wrongful death in the United States -- 98,000 each year. The myth that frivolous malpractice lawsuits are driving up insurance rates and medical costs allow negligent doctors to continue practicing says Michigan Attorney, Terry Cochran.

Far too many victims of medical malpractice never seek the justice they are entitled to because they accept the myth that "frivolous lawsuits" are causing a crisis in the medical field.

But actually there has been no growth in the number of new medical malpractice claims, says Terry Cochran of Cochran and Foley, P.C., based in Livonia, Michigan.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that the number of new medical malpractice claims actually declined by about four percent from 1995 to 2000. While medical costs have increased by 113 percent since 1987, the amount spent on medical malpractice insurance has increased by just 52 percent over that time.

Beyond that, says Cochran, the Consumer Federation of America points out that insurance companies are raising malpractice rates because of poor returns on investments, not because of increased litigation or jury awards.

"Unfortunately, few medical errors ever result in legal claims," says Cochran. "Only one malpractice claim is made for every 7.6 hospital injuries, according to a Harvard study. And, according to the Physician Insurer Association of America, plaintiffs drop 10 times more claims than they pursue."

Given these facts, Cochran & Foley stress that anyone who believes they might be a victim of medical malpractice should aggressively seek the justice they deserve. To do otherwise gives a green light to careless doctors to continue causing unnecessary pain, suffering, and debilitating setbacks for thousands of people.

"Most people don't realize that each year there are more medical malpractice deaths from medical mistakes than from all U.S. highway deaths!," said Cochran. "Medical errors are the eighth leading cause of wrongful death in the United States -- 98,000 each year. Medical malpractice mistakes involving medication errors alone cause injuries to more than 1.3 million persons annually because of doctor prescription errors. Wrongful deaths caused by cancer misdiagnosis are on the rise despite advances made in screening for breast cancer."

An important study on medical error shows that the average intensive care unit patient experienced almost two errors per day, many serious or fatal. If these same medical negligence levels were applied to airlines, it would equal two bad landings a day!

Lawsuits by victims can lead to corrective action, a result that is not being produced by the medical profession or government oversight agencies. Less than one-half of one percent of the nation's doctors face any serious state sanctions each year. In 1999 all state medical boards in the U.S. recorded a total of 2,696 total serious disciplinary actions -- a pittance compared to the volume of injury and death of patients caused by physician negligence.

The American Institute of Medicine admits that medical mistakes kill up to 98,000 people every year compared to 43,450 who die form auto accidents. In addition to death, medical mistakes can cause birth trauma, brain injury, paralysis, amputation, disability, and disfigurement.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to act with a reasonable standard of care. If someone who is not a doctor makes a mistake, they are often said to have acted negligently. Malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to properly treat a patient and the improper treatment causes the patient to suffer a new injury.

Cochran stresses that the best tool to correct the mounting crisis in medical malpractice is to hold negligent hospitals and doctors in Michigan accountable for their mistakes. A patient has the right to file a lawsuit against any hospital, doctor or other healthcare professional whenever it is believed malpractice may have occurred. Because claims must be filed in a timely manner, anyone who thinks malpractice may have occurred should act quickly and seek legal guidance.

The Law Offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.

Call Cochran, Foley & Associates at 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley. Learn more about the law firm by going to There is no obligation for a free case evaluation.

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