A recent survey published in Physicians Weekly discussed some interesting statistics associated with medical malpractice. The survey revealed which specialties experience the most med mal lawsuits as well as surprising data about the success rate and financial compensation associated with med mal claims.
According to the survey, internal medicine doctors experienced the largest percentage of medical malpractice lawsuits. Family medicine was a close second followed by OB/GYNs. Psychiatry, cardiology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, oncology, anesthesiology, endocrinology, surgery and orthopedics rounded out the top 10.
The survey also found that in medical malpractice claims that were directed against primary care doctors, the bulk of the claims (a full 35 percent) involved allegations of a missed diagnosis, especially in cases concerning cancer and heart attacks. Among med mal claims concerning children the biggest issues cited included failure to diagnose meningitis and medication errors.
The malpractice survey also found that 61 percent of all med mal claims took up to two years to conclude, highlighting just how long it can take some patients to finally receive compensation for the injuries they sustained. Of the medical malpractice claims filed, two percent of claimants walked away with over $2 million dollars while 16 percent received between $100,000 and $500,000.
Another surprising statistics revealed that 62 percent of the doctors who responded to the survey say they believe the ultimate result of the claim was fair. The vast majority, 93 percent, also said they do not believe that saying “I’m sorry” would have helped their case.
Those doctors who had been sued offered advice to other physicians that was especially revealing, indicating what lessons they came away with from their own suits. The most important thing doctors said other professionals should do is to always follow up with patients, even in cases where they might not think you have to. Practicing defensive medicine and preemptively testing for an array of conditions was another approach recommended by doctors.