Examining Fault/No Fault Medical Insurance

CMAJ, the publication of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), is doing a series examining medical malpractice in Canada. The CMA drew national attention this month when a private health care advocate was elected their president, drawing criticism from various quarters.

Part one in the last week’s issue describes the emotional difficulties, isolation and stress that physicians undergo when dealing with professional litigation.

They then compare tort-based systems around the world and note that our system is not as user friendly.

The pros and cons of a no-fault compensation scheme are then reviewed, and they claim that 50% of malpractice expenses go to litigation costs and not the injured patient.

Part two, from the Aug. 26, 2008 issue, looks at the tensions between the patient safety movement and the medical malpractice system.

The possibility of litigation does help encourage hospitals to provide better care, but also prevents them from openly analyzing mistakes that would lead to improvements.

Next week’s issue will look at different models and various options that might be available. I’ll report back with some of their findings.

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