Those who favor restricting the rights of those harmed by careless doctors have one less weapon to use in their PR campaign. The latest figures just released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court show that the number of medical malpractice cases have been declining over the past three years. Those who feel doctors should be held personal responsible for the harms they cause are vindicated by these findings. Most of the PR from the doctors has not withstood the scrutiny of careful analysis. The solution is to weed from the profession those doctors who cause the most harm, not restrict the rights of those who have been harmed.
The number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania declined for a third consecutive year in 2007. The number of suits, 1,617, represented a 4.5 percent decline from 2006 and a 40.8 percent drop from an annual average of roughly 2,700 malpractice lawsuits filed from 2000 to 2002.
Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille attributed the decline to key changes made several years ago – a court requirement in 2003 that an independent physician or expert certify the viability of a medical malpractice lawsuit and other changes. Since attorneys only recover a fee if they are successful, and since they need affidavits of merit before filing suit, critics are hard pressed to identify any so-called frivolous medical malpractice suits. Frivolous suits just aren’t brought because they make no economic sense whosoever.