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Report Lists Most Common Reasons for Malpractice Suits

Report Lists Most Common Reasons for Malpractice Suits

Every year, Medscape releases a report on the state of medical malpractice in America. In 2015, the publication surveyed nearly 4000 primary care physicians and specialists, asking them about their own personal experiences with malpractices claims. Based on their answers, Medscape was able to glean some compelling insights into the reasons why patients file malpractice suits against their doctors. The top seven most common reasons are as follows.

  • Failure to diagnose (31 percent)
  • Patient suffered an abnormal injury (31 percent)
  • Failure to treat (12 percent)
  • Poor documentation of patient instruction and education (4 percent)
  • Errors in medication administration (4 percent)
  • Failure to follow safety procedures (3 percent)
  • Improperly obtaining/lack of informed consent (3 percent)

The survey results also revealed what types of doctors were most likely to be sued for medical malpractice in 2015. Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health physicians topped the list, followed by surgeons, orthopedists, radiologists and anesthesiologists. In general, male physicians over the age of 35 were most likely to be sued across all specialties and practices.

Another interesting piece of data from the survey concerns doctors’ reactions to medical malpractice suits. When asked, “what would you have done differently,” 51 percent of doctors responded, “wouldn’t change a thing; my work was standard of care.” The second most common answer was “better chart documentation,” followed by “never taken on this patient.”

These answers suggest one of two things. Either doctors are stalwartly refusing to own up to their errors, or there is some fundamental, far-reaching problem that has developed in the patient-physician relationship. Of course these two options aren’t mutually exclusive – it could be a combination of factors.

If there’s one key takeaway to bear in mind from Medscape’s 2015 report, it’s that medical malpractice lawsuits aren’t going away anytime soon.