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One Third Of Malpractice Claims Involve One Percent Of Doctors

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2016 | Surgical Errors

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that shed light on which doctors are most likely to be sued for medical malpractice. This study, titled “Prevalence and Characteristics of Physicians Prone to Malpractice Claims,” also looked at the types of medical specialties that had the most medical malpractice cases. This study analyzed more than 66,000 medical malpractice cases across the United States from 2005 to 2014 and discovered the following:

  • One percent of doctors are responsible for 32 percent of medical malpractice claims.
  • Roughly 80 percent of these doctors were men. These doctors tended to be older than other doctors.
  • The biggest factor in predicting whether a doctor would have a medical malpractice claim is the number of claims he or she has had in the past. For instance, a doctor with three previous malpractice claims was three times more likely to have another malpractice claim than a doctor with only one medical malpractice claim.
  • More than half of malpractice cases stemmed from four areas of practice: surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, family practice and internal medicine.

The fact that such a small number of doctors account for such a large number of medical malpractice cases is troubling. All too often, state medical licensing agencies will not take proper measures to suspend or otherwise discipline physicians who breach their duty of care to their patients.

By providing patients with more information about their physicians, patients can educate themselves on a doctor’s history. In some states, such as California, patients can see if doctors have had three or more medical malpractice settlements within five years. In Delaware, individuals can look on the state licensing search website to see if a physician has had any disciplinary actions.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by a doctor’s negligence, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer. For years, the injury attorneys of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor have the experience and resources necessary to develop the strongest possible case on your behalf. With locations in Wilmington, Georgetown and Middletown, we work with people across Delaware. Call 302-298-0370 to set up your free consultation.

Source: A Few Doctors Account For Outsize Share Of Malpractice Claims, Delaware Public Media, January 28, 2016