Letters from the July 22, 2006, issue of Science News | Science News

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Letters to the Editor

Letters from the July 22, 2006, issue of Science News

2:12pm, July 18, 2006

First, count all the lawyers

The study in "Legal Debate: Assumptions on medical malpractice called into question" (SN: 5/13/06, p. 291) fails to address the more disturbing issue: Most of the insurance money (apparently) goes to lawyers (both sides), and very little to those injured.

Peter Wilson
Simi Valley, Calif.

The numbers in the story pose a question. First, one reads that "about 85 percent of [1,452] cases were settled out of court, and plaintiffs lost four-fifths of those that did go to trial." This means that about 175 cases went to court and failed. Two paragraphs later, we learn that "236 plaintiffs who did suffer an injury from medical error received no compensation." The question: Did 61 cases settle out of court for no compensation?

Fred Ramsey
Corvallis, Ore.

According to the study, plaintiffs' attorneys typically received a standard

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