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Malpractice and the Measure of Human Suffering

by Linda Ghent

A doctor has been found negligent in the death of his patient, a wife and mother. All that is left is for the jury to decide how much money to award the family. How can they decide what another person's life is worth?

In the real world, we put a dollar value on life in many ways. In the court system, we see judgments for pain and suffering, loss of life, or injuries. Workers in risky occupations accept higher wages to compensate them for taking the risk. While we like to think that life is "priceless," in reality that is not the case.

So, how much is a life worth? This jury has to consider many things including the loss of the mother's productivity around the house (what will it cost to replace her household production?), her potential loss of income, as well as the loss of love and affection for her family. 

As you will see in the video, this is not an easy task. 

Malpractice and the Measure of Human Suffering

A doctor has been found negligent in the death of his patient. Now a jury must decide what the award should be. How do you put a price tag on another person's life?

from Malpractice and the Measure of Human Suffering (2003)
Creator: ABC News - Ted Koppel, John Donvan
Posted by Linda Ghent
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