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Medical malpractice claims reduce doctor errors, costs

Losses tied to unnecessary patient injuries take an enormous personal toll. Charleston victims of medical malpractice may suffer needless health problems and related costs. Some are disabled or die due to the mistakes of medical professionals, who are expected to deliver quality care.

West Virginia patients who've been harmed by doctors and hospitals may file civil claims to recover those losses. Some people believe lawsuits against members of the medical community drive up healthcare expenses. In fact, some claims might be driving down costs by providing valuable insight into medical errors.

According to HealthIT Analytics, the study of closed medical malpractice claims has boosted patient safety. Closed cases provide an abundance of data – carefully-detailed evidence used to support a plaintiff's claim of negligence. Coupled with opinions given by medical experts in these cases, healthcare professionals learn about instances in which errors occur.

The Institute of Medicine found malpractice claim reviews were immensely beneficial to the American Society of Anesthesiology. The ASA saw a stunning drop in wrongful deaths, after adopting new safety measures based on a claim's data. Instances of wrongful death plummeted from about two deaths per 10,000 procedures to one wrongful death per 200,000 procedures.

An American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology study stated applied data from 200 closed medical malpractice cases significantly reduced childbirth errors and injuries. Both studies cited savings in healthcare costs. Fewer mistakes also sharply cut the number of malpractice claims.

Peer reviews are commonly used to assess the quality and safety of healthcare practices. A study compared reviews by peers with reviews of closed medical malpractice claims. Researchers concluded the old cases provided better, more helpful information about medical errors.

It's unfortunate anyone had to suffer for doctors to realize how to stop harming patients. However, learning from malpractice claims far outweighs methods that increase risks of repeating errors affecting human health.

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