In New York, many people have filed medical malpractice lawsuits against their physicians and won. This makes it seem like many doctors are treating their patients improperly. However, a recent study may reveal that some doctors are more likely to commit malpractice than others. With 15,000 to 20,000 medical malpractice lawsuits brought against doctors every year, any new information may help us prevent medical negligence from occurring.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that one percent of physicians was responsible for 32 percent of medical malpractice claims that were paid out from 2005 to 2014. This one percent of doctors was different from their colleagues in many ways, which suggests that high-risk medical professionals can be identified before they make too many medical errors. These high-risk professionals can be more closely monitored and be retrained to prevent future negligence.
The study evaluated the data from the over 66,000 malpractice claims from January 2005 to December 2014. The analysis found that a majority of the successful lawsuits were won for serious injuries or deaths. The damages awarded ranged from $300,000 to $400,000.
Physicians that have lost two malpractice lawsuits are significantly more likely to lose a third lawsuit. Male doctors are 40 percent more likely to face recurrence and physicians under 35 were less likely to face subsequent lawsuits than their older peers. As for the field of medicine, doctors that practice some form of internal medicine are more likely to lose malpractice lawsuits than surgeons.
While most hospital deaths are not caused by negligent medical professionals, one study estimates that there were nearly 1.14 million patient safety issues in hospitals from 2000 to 2002. Medical errors can cost up to $324 million every year. With so much at stake, it is good to know that studies like these may eventually help protect patients and their families.
Source: Vocativ, "1% Of Doctors Are Guilty Of Nearly A Third Of Medical Malpractice," Joshua A. Krisch, Jan. 27, 2016