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Sovereign immunity shows promise in reducing patient injury

As a patient who has suffered from the results of medical malpractice, the last thing you'd want to find out is that states were considering providing immunity to doctors and medical providers. Immunity could mean more mistakes with fewer repercussions.

However, some believe that immunity would actually lead to improved patient care, because doctors could focus more on their jobs and less on what would happen if there was a mistake. In fact, a study showed that the number of adverse medical events actually decreased significantly when physicians were provided with immunity from malpractice claims.

Looking at safety events involving 900 of the University of Miami medical school physicians at Jackson Memorial Hospital between 2010 and 2011, before sovereign immunity, and between 2012 and 2013, after the implementation of sovereign immunity, the differences are surprising. It was found that the number of harmful events that took place between 2012 and 2013 was 13 percent lower compared to the previous two years.

Overall, the study found that physicians provided safe, quality care whether or not they faced the risk of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Instead of malpractice lawsuits, the study researchers suggested investing in liability systems within institutions, which would reduce the number of adverse events overall.

There are a few hospitals in Florida with sovereign immunity, but if you have not been treated there, you may still have a chance of winning your medical malpractice case. The reality is that your care was not up to standard, so the medical provider who provided substandard care should be help liable.

Source: MPR, "Does Immunity from Medical Malpractice Lead to Improved Patient Care?," accessed May 11, 2018

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