Strict Liability for Medical Injuries? The Impact of Increasing Malpractice Liability on Obstetrician Behavior: Evidence from Taiwan

53 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2010  

Brian K Chen

University of South Carolina

Date Written: May 3, 2010

Abstract

Policy makers and academics have long debated the existence and extent of defensive medicine in the face of medical malpractice liability pressure. In this paper, I investigate how physicians’ test-ordering behavior and propensity to perform cesarean sections were affected first by a series of court rulings in Taiwan that increased physicians’ liability risks, and then by a subsequent amendment to the law that reversed the courts’ rulings. I find that physicians faced with higher malpractice pressure increased laboratory tests as expected but unexpectedly reduced cesarean sections. The reduction in cesarean deliveries may be due to the fact that liability risks were more closely aligned with physicians’ standard of care after the court rulings. After the law was amended to negate the court decisions, physicians reversed their previous behavior, reducing laboratory tests and increasing cesarean deliveries. This pattern of behavior strongly suggests that physicians in Taiwan practice defensive medicine.

Suggested Citation

Chen, Brian K, Strict Liability for Medical Injuries? The Impact of Increasing Malpractice Liability on Obstetrician Behavior: Evidence from Taiwan (May 3, 2010). Asia Health Policy Program Working Paper No. 13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1658570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1658570

Brian K Chen (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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