IIT Chicago-Kent to co-sponsor international conference on medical malpractice and compensation in global perspective in Vienna

Experts from six continents and 14 different countries or regions will attend the December 3–4 conference

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Chicago-Kent Law Review and the Institute for European Tort Law (ETL), in collaboration with the European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law, will co-sponsor "Medical Malpractice and Compensation in Global Perspective," an international conference to be held December 3–4, 2010, at the Vienna University of Technology in Vienna, Austria.

The conference will provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of alternative systems employed around the world to prevent and redress medical errors and adverse events, including regulation, criminal and civil liability, social and private insurance, and the relationships among these various systems. There will be a detailed focus on the applicable liability and compensation systems, public perceptions of their operation and effects, and available empirical data on the incidence of medical errors and adverse events, the operation of the systems designed to prevent and/or redress such errors and events, and the prevalence and impact of measures designed to improve system performance or reduce system costs.

Conference participants include experts from every continent except Antarctica. The countries and regions whose systems have been specifically identified for analysis and comparison include Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Scandinavia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Presenters include Professor Bernhard A. Koch, private law chair, University of Innsbruck, Austria; Professor Colleen Flood, Canada research chair in Health Law and Policy and scientific director of the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, University of Toronto; Loutjie Coetzee, senior lecturer, University of South Africa, and director, Unit for Medicine and Law, University of Pretoria and University of South Africa; Professor Zhu Wang, Law School of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China; Professor Mårten Schultz, University of Uppsala, Sweden; and Professor Stephen Todd, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and professor of Common Law, University of Nottingham, England.

The conference is being organized by Chicago-Kent Distinguished Professor of Law Richard W. Wright, an internationally recognized tort law scholar, and ETL director Professor Ken Oliphant. Conference papers and a comparative overview written by Professors Wright and Oliphant will be published by the Chicago-Kent Law Review and by international publisher De Gruyter as a title in ETL's Tort and Insurance Law series.

"While controversies over medical malpractice and related liability and compensation systems recur frequently with high political visibility in the United States, few in the United States are aware that similar controversies exist around the world. Other countries have similar wide divergences between public perceptions and the available empirical data and similar demands for reform or adoption of alternative liability and compensation systems with problems of their own," says Professor Richard Wright.

"The systems in different countries represent a wide spectrum of approaches, including widely varying reliance on different combinations of regulatory, liability, and social and private compensation systems. For example, doctors in some countries, including Italy and Japan, commonly face criminal liability for adverse medical events that would at most lead to civil liability in the United States. In the United States itself, studies routinely show that the major problem in this area is serious underclaiming and undercompensation rather than the reverse. The participants in this conference are eager to compare data and information on the approaches in their respective countries. We expect useful data and insights to be produced and published that will be of use not only to those who are able to attend and participate, but for all of those around the globe who are interested in or concerned about these issues," added Professor Wright.

Additional information about the conference is available at www.etl.oeaw.ac.at.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. The Chicago-Kent Law Review[ was established in 1923 as the Chicago-Kent Review. By the 1930s, the journal adopted its current name and began publishing scholarly articles by law professors and practitioners. More than 300 issues featuring original works by important scholars in the field of law and beyond have been published. Currently, articles in the Chicago-Kent Law Review appear in an all-symposium format.