Patients die less … when doctors are on strike


MEDICINE STORIES – A prolonged strike in Los Angeles in 1976 highlighted this astonishing paradox, which must however be qualified.

In the late 1970s, American doctors were angry. Medical error complaints have increased in number and severity, insurer profits have fallen, and physician malpractice insurance policies have seen their prices soar: over 1,000% between 1964 and 1974, reports in 1986 in the Case western reserve law review the Pr Franck Grad, professor of law at Columbia University.

1er January 1976, caregivers in Los Angeles County, led by surgeons and anesthesiologists, go on strike to demand a reaction from the federal authorities. The movement will last 35 days, until February 4, and will mobilize up to three quarters of the doctors of this county of 7 million inhabitants, affecting all hospital services, except emergencies.

“A doctor’s strike is widely expected to lead to declining care, and increased mortality. “

Social science and medicine, 2008.

Faced with this strike, the media are worried: a telephone service may have been set up to send all urgent patients to the nearest medical resource, the population

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