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This, according to Tom Baker, is the myth of medical malpractice, and as a reality check he offers "The Medical Malpractice Myth," a stunning dismantling of this familiar, but inaccurate, picture of the health care industry. Are there too many medical malpractice suits? No, according to Baker; there is actually a great deal more medical malpractice, with only a fraction of the cases ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Is too much litigation to blame for the malpractice insurance crisis? No, for that we can look to financial trends and competitive behavior in the insurance industry. Are these lawsuits frivolous? Very rarely. Point by point, Baker--a leading authority on insurance and law--pulls together the research that demolishes the myths that have taken hold about medical malpractice and suggests a series of legal reforms that would help doctors manage malpractice insurance while also improving patient safety and medical accountability.
President Bush has made medical malpractice reform a priority in his last term in office, but if history is any indication, legislative reform would only worsen the situation and perpetuate the gross misunderstanding of it. The debate surely will be transformed by "The Medical Malpractice Myth," a book aimed squarely at general readers but with radical conclusions that speak to the highest level of domestic policymaking.