Surgeon discusses challenges in the medical world

02/13/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Atul Gawande is a surgeon and a writer. He contributes to New Yorker Magazine, and his book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, has just been issued in paperback.

Gawande writes about an issue that has plagued the medical industry over the past two decades, and has been talked about by legislators in Washington and in Tallahassee: medical malpractice. Gawande says malpractice suits are a feared, often infuriating, and common event in a doctor’s life.

He says the average doctor in a high-risk practice like surgery or obstretrics is sued about once every six years, and general surgeons pay anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000 a year in malpractice insurance premiums. Gawande says the system seems irrational to most doctors.

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