Legislatures and courts throughout the United States have, until recently, been dragging their heels in correcting abuses readily apparent to even the casual observer of malpractice litigation.' Although these abuses are susceptible of a uniform legal solution, each jurisdiction has been left to find its own direction. The legislatures and courts have faced the problem only when abuses actually occurred or were seriously threatened, and their efforts have been primarily directed toward corrective justices - the righting of wrongs already accomplished. Prevention is better than cure, and certainly much cheaper.
There now can be detected in the malpractice field the beginnings of an accommodation to the needs of the present and the future, as well as a concern to correct the abuses of the past. The sounds the legal and medical professions have been hearing are the first squeaky sounds of mediation and arbitration machinery being oiled. Neither the injured party's right to satisfaction nor the doctor's reputation and right to be protected against frivolous suits should be summarily sacrificed, but each must be qualified to accommodate the other. It is far easier to frame the issue than to formulate the answer.
"The Medical Malpractice Mediation Panel in the First Judicial Department of New York: An Alternative to Litigation,"
Hofstra Law Review: Vol. 2
, Article 9.
Available at: http://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/hlr/vol2/iss1/9