TorteDeForm

Justinian Lane

Perhaps doctors would prefer to return to the days of old, before malpractice lawsuits?

Say what you will about the tort system, but it’s certainly an improvement over the old system. 

Doctors in Hammurabi's day might have thought twice before doing surgery on a free Babylonian man. It was worth ten shekels of silver for him if he "made a large incision with a bronze lance and cured a free man, or has opened the abscess (in the eye) with the lance, and saved the eye of the man."  If the patient died under the knife, or the eye was put out, the doctor lost both his hands.  If the patient was not free, then the malpracticing physician was charged to "render slave for slave."  Hammurabi also decreed that house builders who work was shoddy and caused the building to fall and kill its owner were likewise put to death.

Source: Walking the Berkshires: Tort Reform, Hammurabi Style

I would imagine at least some “reformers” would like the Hammurabi system because it didn’t benefit plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 10:15 AM, Aug 01, 2008 in Civil Justice
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Comments

You missed several important things. First, the physician did not have to treat the patient. That is to say, if you thought he had any chance to have a complication, you did not try to help him. Secondly, as we all know, medicine advanced so much under Hummurabi's rule (sarcasm).

Posted by: throckmorton | August 1, 2008 11:09 AM

Actually, Throckmorton, I understand that there were great breakthroughs in amputation during Hammurabi's rule. ;)

Posted by: Justinian Lane | August 1, 2008 11:28 AM

What happened to lawyers who made false allegations under Hammurabi?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | August 1, 2008 11:28 AM

SC: The original post explained that a man who kissed a married woman would have his lips cut off with an axe. Perhaps that was the penalty? I bet the ATRA would endorse such a proposal as a "modest extension" of the loser pays principle.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | August 1, 2008 11:33 AM

The breakthrough in amputations was of heads.

Posted by: throckmorton | August 1, 2008 10:28 PM

Justinian - this must be the dumbest article you've ever posted on this blog BUT at least Hammurabi was concerned, however flawed, with justice, a notion rarely given any thought by this site

Posted by: Avenger | August 4, 2008 12:26 AM

It's the dumbest article I've ever posted because I say our tort system is better than cutting of doctors' hands?

Wow.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | August 4, 2008 11:25 AM