Most experts would agree that the current medical malpractice system in the United States does not work effectively either to compensate victims fairly or prevent injuries caused by medical errors. Policy responses to a series of medical malpractice crises have not resulted in effective reform and have not altered the fundamental incentives of the stakeholders. In Medical Malpractice, economist Frank Sloan and lawyer Lindsey Chepke examine the U.S. medical malpractice process from legal, medical, economic, and insurance perspectives, analyze past efforts at reform, and offer realistic, achievable policy recommendations. They review the considerable empirical evidence in a balanced fashion and assess objectively what works in the current system and what does not. Sloan and Chepke argue that the complexity of medical malpractice stems largely from the interaction of the four discrete markets that determine outcomes—legal, medical malpractice insurance, medical care, and government activity. After describing what the evidence shows about the functioning of medical malpractice, types of defensive medicine, and the effects of past reforms, they examine such topics as scheduling damages as an alternative to flat caps, jury behavior, health courts, incentives to prevent medical errors, insurance regulation, reinsurance, no-fault insurance, and suggestions for future reforms. Medical Malpractice is the most comprehensive treatment of malpractice available, integrating findings from several different areas of research and describing them accessibly in nontechnical language. It will be an essential reference for anyone interested in medical malpractice.
About the Authors
Frank Sloan is J. Alexander McMahon Professor of Health Policy and Management and Professor of Economics at Duke University. A leader in the field of health economics for more than thirty years, he is coauthor of The Price of Smoking (2004) and Medical Malpractice (2008) and coeditor of Incentives and Choices in Health Care (2008), all published by the MIT Press.
Lindsey M. Chepke, an attorney, is a Research Associate at the Center for Health Policy at Duke University.
“Controversy over the modern medical malpractice system has raged ever since the first malpractice crisis took place in 1975, but it is only during the past few years that empirical studies have generated the data that are necessary to produce an accurate understanding of how the system works. Frank Sloan and Lindsey Chepke pull these data into a comprehensive picture in this book, and unlike many other commentators, they do so with commendable objectivity...it is a scholarly masterpiece and is easily the definitive work on its subject.”—Maxwell J. Mehlman, New England Journal of Medicine
“...Medical Malpractice certainly will be of interest not only to medical and legal policy makers but to physicians interested in this oftentimes most personal of topics. For some in the medical community much of the research and many of the conclusions may prove difficult to accept, but by explaining and expounding on a perceived medical malpractice crisis, Sloan and Chepke just might help slowly change that perception.”—Alan G. Williams, Journal of American Medical Association
“This is top-flight work. I expect this book will be a watershed in the literature of medical malpractice. I have seen nothing so capacious nor so well done.”
—Edward A. Dauer, Dean Emeritus, and Professor of Law, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver
“Frank Sloan and Lindsey Chepke have written an outstanding book on medical malpractice. Their comprehensive and clear-headed analysis sifts carefully through what we know and don't know about the workings of the system. The discussion of liability insurance markets and insurance regulation is particularly impressive, and surely stands as the finest analysis of these issues to date. Medical Malpractice should be essential reading for doctors, lawyers, policymakers, and managers of health care institutions and professional indemnity companies. Patients with a special interest in the topic will find the book more accessible than previous treatments of the topic. The book will help all of these stakeholders sort fact and evidence from the myth and exaggeration that too often poison debate in this area.”
—David Studdert, Professor and Federation Fellow, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne
Honorable Mention, Economics category, 2008 PROSE Awards presented by the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.