Neurosurgeon turned malpractice lawyer wants to hold providers accountable for errors

By Aine Cryts

Lawrence Schlachter, M.D., a malpractice attorney and a former neurosurgeon, sees "fractures" and "a lack of patient safety, and human nature and arrogance" in the healthcare system, which leads to medical errors, reports Pro Publica.

Convinced that there should be "punishments or sanctions" to ensure accountability in healthcare, Schlachter told the publication that the only way to hold medical professionals accountable is to take away their license to practice or their income.

In his role as a malpractice attorney, Schlachter told the news site that he has seen physicians and hospital officials lie to patients and their families--and even cover up records.

While pointing to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealing that 1 percent of doctors generated nearly a third of all paid malpractice claims, he contends that medicine is "incapable of regulating itself." Physicians tend to "act in their own self-interest" and protect themselves rather than expose themselves to a malpractice suit, he told the news outlet.

Furthermore, Schlachter called the use of physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and scribes as extreme and potentially dangerous. He told Pro Publica that medical professionals in these roles can help increase efficiency and reduce cost, as long as "they really care about the patient."

To learn more:
- check out the Pro Publica article
- read the NEJM article abstract