Today, Renal and Urology News reported that five hospitals in New York city would be participating in a $3 million dollar, federally funded program to reduce medical malpractice errors. That's a good start. Here are some of the details.

Beth Israel Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Maimonides Medical Center, and Montefiore Medical Center will focus their efforts on reducing errors in obstetrics. The fifth hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital, will focus on the prevention of surgical errors.

Why are these hospitals focusing on just one area each? Shouldn't all hospital be focusing on all departments to reduce careless mistakes? The report did not explain what the money would be used for except to say that judicial mediators would be involved to help families and injured victims recover early, timely compensation. The also mentioned the program would reveal medical errors early, offer settlements quickly, and use judges to help negotiate settlements rather than have cases go to full blown jury trials.

Here's what I can't tell from this news report:
Who will determine what is appropriate compensation for the injured victim? The hospital? Clearly, they have an interest to save as much money as possible. Are attorneys permitted to represent injured victims in this program?

You know, years ago, insurance companies representing drivers involved in accidents would quickly get on the phone with an injured car accident victim and tell them they can get cold hard cash now. If they get a lawyer, they'd be giving up 1/3 of any settlement and have to wait years for any money. It was a hard-sell, high pressure tactic to get uninformed and unknowing victims to settle quickly.

The problem was that those victims learned too late that the compensation they quickly agreed to was totally insufficient to cover their medical expenses, their permanent pain and suffering, their future lost earnings, benefits that they would have been entitled to had they not been injured and many more elements of compensation. They simply didn't know any better. The insurance companies took every advantage of the unsuspecting victims by befriending them with promises of immediate cash money now.

Will this federally funded program turn out to the be the same? Only time will tell. It would be nice if we had more details about this program.
Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
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