South Carolina News

Scare tactics being used instead of efforts to reduce medical mistakes

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine reported on two large studies that estimated hospital deaths due to medical errors occur at 44,000 to 98,000 instances annually. In 2000, a Journal of the American Medical Association article estimated total annual deaths due to medical errors to be even higher at 225,000. This estimation would put the number of deaths because of medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

In South Carolina, many physicians and politicians have been pushing for reducing physician liability and responsibility instead of making efforts to reduce the number of medical mistakes, according to many critics. In a state that has some of the lowest medical malpractice premiums in the country through the Joint Underwriting Association and Patients Compensation Fund, opponents of medical malpractice tort reform are wondering why patient safety is not being focused on instead.

In South Carolina, physicians insured under the Patients Compensation Fund also have unlimited insurance coverage, removing the need to worry about personal assets being lost by a patient alleging medical malpractice occurred. South Carolina also has the South Carolina Frivolous Civil Proceedings Sanction Act, which allows a party to recover attorney fees and court costs incurred when defending frivolous proceedings.

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