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Old medical malpractice cases may help doctors avoid errors

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, insurers and physicians are examining data from closed malpractice cases to find trends as to why these cases occur. Obviously, one reason for these efforts is to reduce the number of malpractice claims. From a patient's standpoint, this data could lead to fewer errors and better outcomes.

The article, titled Clues to better health care from old malpractice lawsuits, discusses who two malpractice insurers are studying tens of thousands of claims from recent years to identify common errors. These insurers are then passing this information on to hospitals and individual physicians to develop strategies to reduce the likelihood of negative patient outcomes.

What have doctors learned from looking at old malpractice claims?

One of the areas that insurers have reviewed involves birth injuries. Shoulder dystocia, a nerve injury to a baby's shoulder, is a relatively common birth injury. By analyzing malpractice claims, the research shows that shoulder dystocia cases typically involve one or more of the following factors:

  • Babies with larger birth weights
  • Older mothers
  • Mothers with diabetes
  • Mothers who are overweight

By identifying these trends before delivery, obstetricians can have a better plan of action if complications arise.

These groups also looked at emergency medicine to find opportunities for improvement. One of the most common errors in some hospitals is the failure to clean infection or foreign objects out of wounds. Using medical malpractice data, some hospitals have created new processes requiring doctors to examine a wound before stitching up a patient. By taking a proactive approach, medical professionals can achieve better results for the people they serve.

Any person who has been harmed by medical malpractice, or family members of those who have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, should contact a skilled attorney. The injury lawyers of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor provide the highest caliber of representation and client service to malpractice victims across Delaware.

Source: Clues to better health care from old malpractice lawsuits, May 9, 2016, by Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal

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