The Last Straw: The Impact of Cost Containment in Health Care on Medical Malpractice Law

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Cost containment has become a necessary ingredient of the Canadian health care system. This paper examines the impact of this development on current medical malpractice law. It is argued that traditional negligence law doctrines, such as "accepted practice", the "locality rule" and "informed consent", are incapable of handling the issues which will necessarily arise as a result of cost containment. Furthermore, it is argued that cost containment will exacerbate the present shortcomings of the tort system (e.g. its inadequacy as a compensation system for patients injured by contact with providers in the health care system). As a result, it is concluded that a more comprehensive solution, such as a no-fault compensation scheme, is a more appropriate response.


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