The Author reviews THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MYTH by Tom Baker, published by University of Chicago Press, 2005. Baker’s book confronts the idea that medical malpractice litigation is exploding and underserving plaintiffs and that their attorneys receive unjustified rewards while physicians struggle under the burden of high costs. The book strives to debunk the various aspects of this myth and offers directions for reform. Throughout the book, Baker very effectively connects the legal arguments and the insurance and litigation data to his broader points about the politics of tort reform. Baker’s style is concise, lively, and very readable. He effectively weaves in the personal stories of particular plaintiffs to illustrate many of his broader points. The book is aimed at and accessible to a general audience, but it will also prove interesting and informative to lawyers, and to legal, medical and public health academics. Although his thesis likely would be less surprising to the latter groups, Baker’s careful construction and support of his argument makes a valuable contribution to the malpractice debate in academia. It can also serve as a fine secondary source in law school or public health courses on insurance law or medical malpractice. Even those readers who disagree with Baker’s argument and his conclusions will find the book informative and helpful in strengthening their understanding of the law and politics of the malpractice debate.
Barbara A. Noah, Book Review, 16 L. & POL. BOOK REV. 253 (2006) (reviewing TOM BAKER, THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MYTH (2005)).