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Doctors Are Sued at an Alarming Rate in the United States

According to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors are sued even more than you might realize. The study analyzed data from a large national carrier for the years 1991-2005, incorporating 230,000 physician-years of coverage. During each year of the study period, 7.4% of all doctors had a medical malpractice claim.

Only 20% of which, either through settlement or judgment, led to payment, while the majority of claims resulted in no payment to the plaintiff. The risk of being sued by age 65 of a high-risk specialist was nearly 100%, while the lifetime risk of a low-risk physician was almost 80%.

The annual risk of being sued for certain specialists was as follows:

  • Neurosurgeon 19%
  • Thoracic surgery 19%
  • General surgery 15%
  • Orthopaedic surgery 14%
  • Plastic surgery 13%
  • Gastroenterology 12%

These alarming statistics show that the risk of being sued is significant and solidify the claim that there is good reason for defensive medicine. Defensive medicine involves the recommendation of diagnostic tests or treatments that are not necessarily in the best interest of the patient, but an option that facilitates protecting the physician against the patient as a potential plaintiff.

Medical Malpractice in Florida

Anytime the treatment provided by a healthcare professional falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to a patient, professional negligence in the form of medical malpractice has occurred. Approximately 195,000 people die every year because of medical errors, as reported by Medical News Today. According to Diederich Healthcare, 2012 saw $3.6 billion in payouts for medical malpractice nationwide, averaging one payout every forty-three minutes.

Despite medical malpractice growing at its slowest rate in fourteen years, these claims could still carry significant financial consequences for the healthcare industry in 2014.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. Being proactive about your healthcare is the best way to avoid becoming one of these medical malpractice statistics. Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider questions. Speak up and be your own advocate.

Injured By Your Doctor? Call Us for Help.

If you have been injured or a loved one has died due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, the Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at Kelley/Uustal can offer expert advice on your legal issues. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys work with clients on a one-on-one basis and help determine the best course of action for each individual situation. Call us at (954) 522-6601 for a free consultation.

Categories: Medical Malpractice

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