Karen L. Posner, MD; Frederick W. Cheney, MD; Robert A. Caplan, MD
Posner K., Cheney F., Caplan R.; The Medical Malpractice System. Ann Intern Med. 1993;118:908-909. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-118-11-199306010-00025
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1993;118(11):908-909.
TO THE EDITOR:
Taragin and coworkers  investigated the medical malpractice tort system through use of closed claims data from the Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange of New Jersey. They presented the conclusion that physician care in malpractice cases is usually defensible and suggested that unjustified payments are probably uncommon. Their findings are generally consistent with the American Society of Anesthesiologists' study of 1004 closed anesthesia malpractice claims . Their study, however, differed from ours and others  in one important aspect: In their study the standard of care assessment was not associated with severity of injury. In contrast, we found that in cases of severe injury, care was more commonly assessed as substandard, whereas in cases of nondisabling injuries, care was more commonly assessed as meeting standards . We subsequently found in an experimental study that knowledge of severity of injury influenced anesthesiologist reviewers' judgments of the appropriateness of care .
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