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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Jul-Aug;22(4):26-36.

Medical liability and patient safety.

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  • 1Columbia University, USA.


Political debate over medical malpractice reform seldom takes meaningful account of its policy context, including the emerging science of patient safety. Instead, stakeholders on both sides use the rhetoric of patient safety to support entrenched positions on hardened proposals such as capping damages and limiting access to information about errors. Despite its déjà vu quality, the current malpractice crisis can only be understood and addressed as the product of changes in the health care system since the last crisis nearly twenty years ago--changes that also informed the patient safety movement. Patient safety may therefore serve as a bridge between medical liability and health policy.

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