What Do Doctors Say About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?

Medical malpractice lawsuits seek to obtain fair and just compensation for men, women, and children who were seriously hurt by negligent health care.  Those suing are the injured patients or, in the case of a fatal medical error, the patients’ surviving relatives.

So what types of doctors are most commonly sued for medical malpractice?  What are the outcomes?  How do physicians react to medical malpractice lawsuits?  A new study goes right to the source to get some answers.

The Medscape Malpractice Report 2017 was recently published online.  Medscape is a web-based medical news service.  Its new report includes responses from more than 4,000 doctors, all relating to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Specialists Most Often Sued for Serious Medical Mistakes

Surgeons and obstetricians were the specialists most often sued for medical errors, with 85 percent in each group replying they had been sued at least once.  This is not too surprising as preventable errors made in surgery can be devastating to patients and their families.

The leading causes of medical malpractice lawsuits were echoed in the survey, as the top reasons this group of doctors gave for being sued included:

·         Mistake in diagnosis – 31 percent

·         Surgery complications – 27 percent

·         A delay or failure to provide patient treatment – 17 percent

Financial Awards from Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

In terms of compensation awarded to plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits, 68 percent of the physicians surveyed said the plaintiffs in their case received up to $500,000.  Another 17 percent of the doctors sued said the plaintiff was awarded between $500,000 to $1 million; 6 percent up to $2 million; and 5 percent of the cases resulted in over $2 million in compensation.

Given all of this, 62 percent of the doctors said they thought the outcome of their lawsuit was fair.

Proponents of limiting medical malpractice compensation often say that such awards make doctors stop practicing, harming healthcare in the long run.  But the doctors in this research didn’t back that up. Only six percent said they left their practice after a medical malpractice lawsuit, and 49 percent said they made no changes of any kind following the claim.

The bottom line is that when doctors don’t provide an acceptable level of care and their mistakes injure or kill their patients, they should be held accountable.

If you believe you or a loved one was a victim of serious medical error, contact a medical malpractice attorney to review your case.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog December 18, 2017