Politics makes for interesting theater, and recent experience proves that the politics of health care is no exception. In the current political de-bate over the ramifications of health care reform, an age-old discussion has re-emerged near the forefront of the American political consciousness: the proper balance between patient rights and practitioner liability in medical malpractice. While liability rules may serve mainly as a peripheral issue in the current policy-making struggle, these rules have been a favorite political target for many decades, always managing to assert their place in the broader discussion of health care policy. The debate is often framed as addressing “tort reform,” but this simple title belies the complexity of the issue. The term “tort reform” encompasses myriad policies including caps on punitive and non-economic damages, caps on attorneys’ fees, modification or elimination of joint and several liability rules, elimination of collateral source restrictions, and modifications to statutes of limitation.
The complete article, “Doctor My Doctrine: Medical Malpractice and the Irrepressible Continuing Tort,” is available on the Hein Online Law Journal Library.