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November 1, 2000

Deficiencies in US Medical Care

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(17):2184-2185. doi:10.1001/jama.284.17.2184

To the Editor: Dr Starfield's Commentary1 exploring the needless deaths from US medical care is perfect until it reaches the moment of needed epiphany. What does the United States have that Japan or other countries don't? Forget about the money savings, tort reform would save untold numbers of lives. Trial lawyers separate us from the rest of the world, because only the United States can afford the excess of defensive medicine. Sadly, death is a side effect of this excess, and fear of litigation also keeps critical health care system failings from being discussed.