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medical malpractice crisis is over

According to today's Allentown Morning Call, any medical malpractice crisis which existed is now over . For several years hospitals and doctors in the Leigh Valley and across the state have complained that because of the threat of medical malpractice lawsuits they were leaving the state. The most recent study released by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts reports that the number of medical malpractice filings is down 45% in the last decade and since new rules were implemented governing the mechanics of such lawsuits. Not only are the law suites way down, but even in those cases which have been filed and go to trial the doctors and hospital are winning 80% of the time. It doesn't take a math wiz to figure out that if you only have a 20% chance of winning that fewer cases will be filed.  As a lawyer who has been handling these cases for 30 years I can report that such cases are not only extremely expensive to litigate but also require tremendous amounts of man-power. Hence the filing of a frivolous law suits never made financial sense to a lawyer - even before the new rules. But, what the new rules did accomplish was the near elimination of shot-guns filings that name multiple doctors. These types of filings were routine because lawyers were concerned that they might not name all of the correct medical treater's in the suit. It is often difficult to pin-point all of the medical providers who may share responsibility in a medical error until all of the records and testimony have been gathered.  In addition, jurors have become more conservative in their verdicts. So, based on these statistics, I guess we won't be hearing the doctors and hospitals crying about "frivolous" lawsuits anymore? Now the question we have to ask  is whether justice is being served because meritorious suites are not being perused or juries are just plain scarred they may lose their doctors if they find against one from their community. Dennis F Feeley

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