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Medical Ethics |

Five Myths of Medical MalpracticeFive Myths of Medical Malpractice

David A. Hyman, MD, JD; Charles Silver, JD
Author and Funding Information

From the College of Medicine and College of Law (Dr Hyman), University of Illinois, Champaign, IL; and Center on Lawyers, Civil Justice, and the Media (Prof Silver), School of Law, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.

Correspondence to: David A. Hyman, MD, JD, University of Illinois College of Law, 504 E Pennsylvania Ave, Champaign, IL 61820; e-mail: dhyman@illinois.edu


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(1):222-227. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1916
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We identify five myths of medical malpractice that have wide currency in medical circles. The myths are as follows: (1) Malpractice crises are caused by spikes in medical malpractice litigation (ie, sudden rises in payouts and claim frequency), (2) the tort system delivers “jackpot justice,” (3) physicians are one malpractice verdict away from bankruptcy, (4) physicians move to states that adopt damages caps, and (5) tort reform will lower health-care spending dramatically. We test each assertion against the available empirical evidence on the subject and conclude by identifying various nonmythical problems with the medical malpractice system.

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