The National Practioner Data Bank, the entity that gathers data about medical malpractice claims, reports that paid medical malpractice claims continue to drop.
In 2001, the total number of paid claims was 20,319. In 2010, the number had dropped to 13,277. Now, a new report released by Kaiser citing data from the NPDB indicates that paid claims for 2011 totaled 9497.
(The NPDB data for 2001 through 2010 is set forth in Appendix D, Table 1.)
This data is consistent with my experience in Tennessee. The passage of various laws have made medical malpractice cases less attractive for patients and their lawyers to pursue, and the jury pool has been impacted by decades of misinformation about the civil justice system in general and medical malpractice cases in particular.
Once again, recall that as many as 98,000 people die in our nation’s hospitals each year as a result of medical malpractice. Undoubtedly, many more are injured. The fact that less than 10,000 of those people receive compensation for injury or death arising from medical malpractice tells us that the health industry plan to avoid accountability for errors is working all too well.