Home » Why there’s been no lawsuit

Why there’s been no lawsuit

Why there’s been no lawsuit.

 

The short answer is that in Costa Rica, malpractice suits are uncommon, take a decade to resolve, and plaintiffs only win about 3% of the time.  A good academic article about this phenomenon is available at <http://ssrn.com/abstract=2196645>

Also, Costa Rican malpractice charges often involve  criminal charges, and we doubt that we want to send the doctor to prison for her mistake.  What this doctor did was a probably just a poor interpretation of some incorrect training that she received.   Who is to blame, the doctor or her teachers?  If the ambulance company is hiring people who are poorly trained and not training them, then they are to blame, but is their negligence criminal?

The longer answer is that we know what we would like to see happen and we don’t know that a lawsuit would help.  We doubt that the comparatively high rate of malpractice suits has improved birth in the United States. Lawsuits are useful when a company or industry has a policy or product that consistently hurts people, but are they helpful in reducing the number of mistakes an individual, well-intentioned  doctor?  Doubtful:

 

http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2011/1/10/defending-ourselves-against-defensive-medicine.html

 

There are people in Costa Rica working to reduce the rate of episiotomies, especially the crazy deep kind that have damaged so many women, and CR Social Security established guidelines in 2009 that are intended to reduce episiotomy and to give women more control of birth in general:

 

http://www.mamasol.com/9-12-2009_nuevas_normas_CCSS/

 

Maybe a lawsuit would advance the cause, but it could also polarize the pro-fear, pro-cesarean camp versus the natural birth camp. We aren’t sure that the court room promotes a reduction in fear and honest discussion.

There are other things we’re more eager to see happen…