Saturday, September 12, 2009

When it comes to tort reform Obama doesn’t get it

In his speech the other night President Obama made passing mention of tort reform. His solution? Bolster the patient safety movement! Concerning that, Dr. Wes said:

That was it. Medical malpractice reform by putting patient safety first. You could see the members of Congress sitting there somewhat stunned and with puzzled looks on their faces. They weren't sure if they should clap or not.

Quoting the NEJM perspective piece on patient safety by Obama and Hilary Clinton, Dr. Wes noted:

So there you have it. It will be medical liability reform through more safety supervisors, hand soap dispensers, operative "time outs" and hall monitors. No unseemly caps on financial damages. Boy, the Bar Association members must be giving each other "high fives" for how well the President handled that part of his speech, don't you think?

Patient safety is a laudable objective but to think that the patient safety movement will help solve the malpractice crisis is patently absurd. As I noted before, the patient safety movement has been a failure precisely because it furthers rather than mitigates the culture of blame and threatens to bring the malpractice crisis to a new level.

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