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photoMalpractice rate hikes forced service reductions in 20 percent of US hospitals, according to the American Hospital Association. Now, doctors are fighting back. They're walking out of the OR and on to picket lines. Some are even leaving their specialties behind.

Malpractice rates spiked in the mid- 1980's, and the latest round of hikes is sparking a fresh round of scalpal-pointing. Some lawyers and consumer groups blame insurance companies, while doctors and insurance companies put the blame on out-of-control juries and lawyers.


Dr. Troy Brennan, president of the Brigham and Women's physician's organization

Dr. Gregory Sarraco, general surgeon Wheeling Hospital in West Virginia

Dr. Tony Balsamo, orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania

Leo Boyle, attorney

Julie Ravner, health policy correspondent for NPR

This program aired on January 9, 2003.