CJS Noon Lecture Series | Medical Error in Japan: A Subsurface Tangle of Law and Politics

  • Speaker: Robert B Leflar, Ben J. Altheimer Professor of Legal Advocacy; Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Host Department: Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)
  • Date: 02/04/2016
  • Time: 12:00PM – 1:30PM
  • Location: Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
  • Description:Medical error is estimated to be a cause of more than 100,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Similarly, blunders at some of Japan’s most famous hospitals led to a national uproar in the early years of the 21st century. Media attention to the problems of medical error has tailed off in both countries, but the problems remain. Leflar’s interviews with Japanese patients and families, doctors, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, journalists, and health policy officials form the background for his analysis of the politics of a little-known recent reform of Japan’s dysfunctional system of peer review of medical errors – a reform engaging the national political parties in surprising ways, leading to 2014 legislation setting out a new structure for peer review nationwide. The health ministry is now struggling to implement the new system. Leflar contrasts the Japanese approaches to U.S. responses to medical quality problems, from “tort reform” to Obamacare.
    Professor Rob Leflar’steaching and research focus on torts, health law, and related fields. Professor Leflar earned his bachelor’s, J.D., and master’s in public health from Harvard University. Prior to teaching law, he clerked for Judge George Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, and was a staff attorney for Public Citizen Health Research Group in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the bars of Arkansas, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Professor Leflar has been awarded several fellowships for study in Japan, including a Fulbright grant, Japan Foundation fellowship, and grants from the Center for Global Partnership and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. His current research project compares medical quality control and injury compensation in Japan and the United States.  He has lectured, often in Japanese, at Tokyo University and other universities in Japan and at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and several international conferences. He has published articles about Japan in American, Japanese, and European journals. His book (in Japanese) on the development of informed consent in Japanese medicine and law was published in 2002.
MI Asian Staff
Author: MI Asian Staff