Saturday, March 20, 2004

Fewer Medical Malpractice Suits Are Making It To Court

New figures out March 17, 2004 from the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court show it is getting harder for patients to sue their doctors for malpractice.

In the last two years, the PA state Legislature and the governor have raised the standard that courts must use to determine if a malpractice case will be heard in court or whether the case is thrown out.

House Republican leaders said those figures show those higher standards are working.

The report issued by Chief Justice Ralph Cappy found there were fewer than 2,700 malpractice suits filed in Pennsylvania in the year 2000. The number increased in 2001 and 2002, but then dropped to 1,989 in 2003. That's a nearly 29 percent drop in the four-year period.

The head of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, which has opposed most malpractice reforms, said the changes the Legislature has made have accomplished its goal.

Pennsylvania patients are split over the proposed caps on victims rights.