Medical Malpractice And Tort Reform

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Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Within the realm of American tort law, medical malpractice is equated to professional negligence and is a highly debated issue. “The government estimates that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year in hospitals due to medical mistakes, the vast majority of them preventable” (Lau & Johnson, 2011). In differentiating this type of tort from standard negligence claims, similarities and differences are illustrated through the elements of a cause of action and available defenses. In further examination of the issue, ethical questions arise in regards to malpractice tort reform, which can be analyzed through the presentation of multiple professional perspectives as well as previous tort cases in order to expose the multi-faceted issue at hand. Four Elements of a Medical Malpractice Cause of Action First, in order for a plaintiff to prevail through a medical malpractice cause of action, four key elements must be proven. Initially, the existence of a patient-provider relationship must be evident. Additionally, there must be an establishment of a medical standard of care. This foundational element pertains to the appropriate level of care under the circumstances, essentially the average degree of care and skill of similar health care providers. The third element which must be proven is a breach of that medical standard of care. By contrasting the care provided in the specific case to the typically appropriate level of care expected from a
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