A surprising study on medical malpractice was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study, which was performed by researchers at Stanford University, analyzed several thousand medical malpractice lawsuits that resulted in money being paid to the individual who filed the lawsuit.
The study looked at paid lawsuits that were filed over a ten year period, beginning in 2005.
In a sample of more than 66,000 malpractice suits filed against 54,000 physicians across the country, six percent of all doctors had at least one paid lawsuit filed against them.
While this statistic may not appear too startling, the study also concluded that one percent of these doctors were responsible for nearly one-third of all paid malpractice claims.
The study also revealed an interesting set of similarities in the one percent of physicians who were accountable for the majority of paid malpractice lawsuits.
The great majority of these physicians were men, were fifty years of age or older and worked in the field of general surgery, general practice and family medicine, internal medicine or obstetrics/gynecology.
It may be less surprising to learn the study found that a physician who received one malpractice claim was much more likely to receive additional claims in the future.
However, researchers who participated in the study were careful to point out that, although risk factors for physicians and malpractice claims were identified, the burden of putting this information to use lies with hospital and malpractice insurers.
By working with doctors who have accumulated multiple claims, hospitals and insurance companies can help reduce the chances a doctor will be responsible for yet another medical malpractice claim.
Hospitals and malpractice insurers can implement various training and educational programs for the doctors, including seminars on techniques for best practices and a review of appropriate bedside manner.
As for patients, the availability of a doctor’s medical malpractice information differs from state to state. Some types of malpractice settlements are a matter of public record, but only if the physician has accumulated up to four settlements over a span of five years.
If you feel you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can answer your questions and assist you in seeking the compensation you deserve.