According to a recent study out of the New England Journal of Medicine, “Prevalence and Characteristics of Physicians Prone to Malpractice Claims,” “a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics account for a disproportionately large number of paid malpractice claims.”
The authors of the study conducted an extensive review of the National Practitioner Data Bank, analyzing 66,426 claims paid against 54,099 physicians from 2005 through 2014. According to the results, approximately 1% of all the physicians accounted for 32% of paid claims and, the more often a doctor is sued, the more likely he or she will be sued again. For example, as compared with physicians who had one previous paid claim, physicians who had three paid claims had three times the risk of incurring another, and a doctor who had six or more paid claims was 12 times as likely.
Risks also varied by specialty. For instance, the risk of recurrence was approximately double among neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons as compared to internists. The lowest risks of recurrence were seen among psychiatrists and pediatricians. Male physicians also had a higher risk of recurrence than female physicians.
According to the lead author, David M. Studdert, a professor of law and medicine at Stanford, the study has confirmed that “doctors who accumulate multiple claims are a problem, and a threat to the health care system. Identifying these high-risk doctors is a key first step toward doing something about the problem.”
The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting, and trying to verdict all types of medical malpractice cases. To speak with our experienced legal team about your medical care, contact the Firm.