Medical malpractice attorneys report the findings of a new study that shows that lower income patients are less likely to sue their doctors for medical negligence or malpractice.
The study, published by Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research and authored by Dr. Ramon Jiminez of the Monterey Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Institute in California, also maintains that doctors hold an unconscious bias towards wealthier patients and against patients with less money. These doctors would be surprised to find that those poor patients, who they end up treating differently than other patients, are essentially saving their time, money, and reputations.
In carrying out this study, Dr. Jiminez and his team reviewed research that analyzed medical malpractice litigation claims and rates among low-income patients and compared those numbers with the numbers for other economic groups. What they found was that low-income patients do not have the same access to legal resources and may not have the monetary resources to pursue a claim (not all law firms operate on a contingency basis, as Messa & Associates does). The study also notes that some doctors even simply refuse to treat low-income patients because they fear not being paid for their services. These doctors, wittingly or unwittingly, may justify their choices to not treat poor patients by accepting the false notion that they are more likely to sue.
Dr. Jiminez commented on the somewhat bothersome results of the study:
“Helping doctors to become more culturally competent, [that is] able to treat or relate better to a patient from a different race, ethnicity, sex, socio-economic status or sexual orientation, may help overcome these misperceptions. In addition, improving education and training for the delivery of culturally competent care, and empowering patients to play more meaningful roles in their health care decisions are proven strategies that can positively impact health disparities, the quality of medical care, physician satisfaction and the incidence of medical malpractice litigation.”
It is in a doctors scope of duties to provide the best possible treatment he/she knows how to every patient that comes to them. Regardless of income or socio-economic status, patients deserve attentive and purposeful care from the medical providers they trust with their lives.
If you or a family member have been injured by a negligent nurse, physician, specialist, surgeon, or other medical provider, or if you believe one of your loved one has wrongfully died, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation by calling, toll-free, 1-877-MessaLaw. You may also submit a free online inquiry
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