A new study out of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that physicians who follow recommendations from AI software may be found less liable for medical malpractice by a jury. In the past, research indicated that the general public is resistant to artificial intelligence, but this study found that jurors may not be opposed to physicians using AI recommendations to make medical decisions regarding a patient’s treatment.
These findings are of note for several reasons. Medical diagnosis technology and artificial intelligence can help medical professionals make diagnostic and treatment decisions. AI uses data correlations, recognizes patterns, and analyzes information to provide medical professionals with recommended options for treatment. The study, published in January, found that doctors who accepted this advice are at a lower risk for malpractice liability.
What does it mean for you if you are a victim of medical malpractice? What happens if the AI technology makes a mistake, gives the wrong diagnosis or treatment option, and you or your loved one is injured? Who, or what, is responsible then? This study may actually open up more questions than it actually answers.
About the study
The study was comprised of an online survey of 2,000 Americans, and its goal was to find out how potential jurors would consider malpractice liability in cases where medical professionals used an AI tool for patient diagnosis and treatment decisions. Each participant read one of four scenarios where an AI system provided a recommended treatment to a physician. Each scenario offered standard or non-standard treatment, and the physician accepts or rejects the treatment. In every scenario, the patient suffers harm. Participants were then asked to assess the physician’s liability regarding the outcome.
The researchers found that two main factors affected the participants’ assessment of liability – whether the physician followed a reasonable standard of care, and whether he/she followed the recommendation of the AI tool. Participants judged physicians more favorably when they followed standard care advice from an AI, even if the outcome was negative. However, the researchers did not find the same liability shield if the physician rejected AI recommendations for non-standard care:
The findings speak to recent concerns about legal impediments to the use of AI precision medicine. Tort law may not impose as great a barrier to the uptake of AI medical system recommendations as is commonly assumed; in fact, it might even encourage the uptake of AI recommendations…Contrary to the predictions of those legal theories, the experiments suggest that the view of the jury pool is surprisingly favorable to the use of AI in precision medicine.
Why you need a medical malpractice attorney if an AI tool led to injury
AI technology is a tool just like a scalpel is a tool. The person who wields it must do so correctly, and with the utmost care. Making a mistake with an AI tool can constitute negligence. If there is a defect in the design or software, or a flaw in the machine, then the manufacturers of that AI may be liable for your injuries.
Given this information about juries and AI, it is more important than ever that you contact a medical malpractice lawyer to help you with your claim. We know how to explain complex issues to juries in ways that are easy to understand. We also know how to hold product manufacturers and designers accountable for defective products. Our decades of experience in medical malpractice and product liability can make us an invaluable part of your claim.
If you or a loved one were injured due to malpractice, talk to the attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC today. We will investigate and find out who or what caused your injuries and hold them accountable. To schedule a free consultation with one of our South Carolina attorneys, call 803-327-7800, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood