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Litigation Medical Malpractice

Patient Safety Work Product and Its Limitations: A Discussion of Two Recent Cases

In the context of medical malpractice litigation, it is important for lawyers representing the injured patient and health care providers to understand the overall purpose of the Healthcare Quality and Improvement Act, as well as its limitations as far as patient safety work product is concerned.


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On July 29, 2005, President George W. Bush signed legislation known as the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA) of 2005, heralding the legislation as a critical step toward the goal of ensuring top-quality and patient-driven health care for United States citizens. This legislative initiative followed a 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, which estimated that at least 44,000, and potentially as many of 98,000, people die in U.S. hospitals each year as a result of preventable medical errors. The report, titled “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” recommended that legislation be passed to develop a reporting system by which medical errors could be identified, analyzed, and used to prevent future medical errors.

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