The Boston Globe reports on New Hampshire's medical malpractice panels, which screen cases prior to trial and issue recommendations for resolution. The panels were created to address the high cost of medical malpractice insurance for physicians, by limiting the costs involved in opposing plaintiff's lawsuits. Ideally, the panels are supposed to encourage early resolution, via settlement, of malpractice claims. However, New Hampshire's Chief Justice, Robert Lynn, says “that's just not happening.”
Feelings about the panels among lawyers are mixed, to say the least. One reason is that if the panel issues a unanimous ruling, it is provided to the jury if the case goes to trial.
In today's NY Times , we are reminded that the lack of a nationwide agency that actually regulates hospitals in a way that makes them accountable for their failures often results in disastrous results for patients, in the form of medical malpractice.