December 19, 2000

Annual Law-Medicine Symposium examines legal implications of medical errors

DAYTON, OHIO -- "Medical Errors: Legal Issues and Implications" will be the topic of the 11th Annual Law & Medicine Symposium on Wednesday, February 7, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Berry Room of the Ervin J. Nutter Center, Wright State University.

The Law-Medicine Symposium is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged. To pre-register or for more information, contact Wright State's Office of Geriatric Medicine at 937/775-3392.

The Law & Medicine Symposium is presented annually by the University of Dayton School of Law and the Wright State University School of Medicine. It is endowed by Gregory C. Gibson Co., L.P.A.

According to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine, medical errors cause an estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths every year in the United States. Many other medical errors cause lesser patient injuries and suffering.

"Although these figures are subject to debate, there is a clear current consensus that the number and severity of errors taking place within the context of medical care are unacceptable," says Marshall Kapp, J.D., M.P.H., who is professor of community health at Wright State and a professor of law at UD.

According to Kapp, a variety of public and private responses to this situation have been proposed, including mandatory and voluntary systems of error reporting.

"The role of the American legal system in facilitating the prevention or mitigation of medical errors is controversial," he says. "While some defend malpractice litigation as a key to holding negligent doctors accountable and deterring substandard care in the future, others argue that anxiety about potential lawsuits and liability is an impediment to effective preventive or corrective action by health care providers."

"This program will use a hypothetical case to facilitate a frank, vigorous discussion of all facets of medical error by an expert panel representing a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and viewpoints," explains Kapp, who will lead the dialogue.

Expert panelists include: Nicholas Bunch, J.D., White, Getgay and Meyer, L.P.A., Cincinnati; Dale Creech, J.D., chief legal officer, Premier Health Partners, Dayton; Douglas Mossman, M.D., professor of psychiatry at WSU and adjunct faculty at UD; Kenneth Oberheu, M.D., Premier Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, Inc., and clinical professor of surgery at WSU; Vernellia Randall, R.N., M.S.N., J.D., professor of law at UD and Adjunct Assistant Professor of community health at WSU; Kristine A. Scordo, R.N., Ph.D., associate professor, college of nursing and health at WSU; and Charles Setser, M.D., chief resident instructor of internal medicine at WSU.

The University of Dayton School of Law has accredited this program for two credit hours of Continuing Legal Education. Wright State University School of Medicine, accredited by the Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACME), designates this activity as meeting the criteria for two credit hours of Category 1 of the physician's recognition award of the American Medical Association.