A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that doctors who are sued once for malpractice are more likely to be sued again. The study found that one percent of doctors paid 32 percent of all malpractice claims. The researchers also found that the more doctors are sued, the more likely they are to be sued again. It is a vicious cycle that leaves a trail of injured patients in its wake.
The researchers analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, they went back through 10 years of paid medical malpractice claims. They found 62,426 claims were paid against 54,099 doctors. The good news is that 94 percent of all doctors have no claims. The bad news is that a handful of doctors are responsible for the majority of claims.
This study is troubling because it shows that hospitals can and should track which doctors commit errors. A significant proportion medical malpractice claims are committed by repeat offenders, so this allows hospitals to identify troubled doctors and monitor or remove them patient care. The researchers argue that identifying these doctors is the first step in preventing future harms to patients.
The study also identified some expected results. For example, neurosurgeons are twice as likely to have paid claims while they were in their residency. This makes sense because there is a very high risk of error in neurology. Conversely, pediatricians were 30 percent less likely to have a medical malpractice claim.
If you or a loved one were injured due to a doctor’s negligence during treatment then you may have an actionable malpractice claim. You may want to speak with an attorney to review your rights and possible compensation. These claims are important because, depending upon the error the doctor made, you could require medical treatment for months or years into the future. You shouldn’t have to bear this burden. The doctor made the mistake it should be his or her burden.