Ebola-infected Thomas Eric Duncan was misdiagnosed in an emergency room and sent home in Texas, a state where patient safety deteriorated significantly when hospital emergency rooms were immunized for negligence. Beloved comedian Joan Rivers died during an office-based procedure in New York, where an extraordinary 12 percent of adverse events during such procedures result in death.
Medical negligence is suddenly on our national radar as we wonder, "How could these things happen?" Perhaps that question is something positive to come from these tragedies. It makes for perfect timing to talk about alarming new research by esteemed, longtime academics in the field of medical malpractice, who examined the impact of immunity laws, so-called "tort reform." The upshot of the new research is this: "Tort reform" laws harm not just injured patients and their families. They are also wrecking health care for the rest of us.