Medical Malpractice: Which Doctors Are Most Likely to Face It?
When it comes to doctors, none are perfect. They make mistakes just like all the rest of us. And when the mistakes cause damages, doctors can be sued for medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is actually quite common. In fact, more than half of health care providers have been sued. However, the likelihood of being a party to a lawsuit varies based on specialty.
In 2017, Medscape published a medical malpractice report, surveying 4,137 physicians across more than two dozen specialties. Of those, 55% had been sued, which was a 15% increase since 2003.
The top reason for a medical malpractice lawsuit is a missed or delayed diagnosis, making up 31% of all cases. Complications from treatment or surgery account for 29% of claims. At number three was poor outcomes and disease progression, resulting in 26% of medical malpractice lawsuits. Failure to treat and/or delayed treatment was at 16% of all cases, with wrongful death rounding out the top five, accounting for 13% of medical malpractice cases.
The specialists most likely to be sued are both general and specialized surgeons, OB-GYNs, and women’s health specialists, all at 85%. Also high on the list are otolaryngologists (ENTs), at 78%, as well as urologists (77%), orthopedists (76%), plastic surgeons (73%), radiologists (70%), and ER doctors (65%). According to the report, only 29% of psychiatrists and 28% of dermatologists had been sued, making them the specialties least likely to be involved in a malpractice lawsuit.
Of those who have been sued for medical malpractice, almost half have been sued multiple times. They saw 2-5 lawsuits over the course of their career. Those physicians included primary care physicians (18%), surgeons (11%), and OB-GYNs (11%).
Location may also be a factor. The top state for medical malpractice is Indiana. New Jersey ranks #5. The age of a doctor may also be a factor. Younger physicians had the lowest rate of medical malpractice. However, surgeons between the ages of 35 and 44 had the highest claim rate, with 12.2 claims per 100 physicians.
Gender may also play a role. For example, male doctors are much more likely to face a lawsuit. In fact, they were more than twice as likely to be sued for medical malpractice than female doctors. This has not changed in more than a decade, even though there are now many more women in the medical field.
Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Any doctor can be sued by a patient for a medical mistake. However, there are certain demographics of doctors who are more likely to face lawsuits than others.
If you have been injured by a doctor, seek legal help from a Morristown medical malpractice attorney from The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff as soon as possible. We know how complex these cases can be. Call (973) 455-1567 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation.