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Study blames 1/3 of medical malpractice cases on 1% of doctors

| Jan 30, 2016 | Failure To Diagnose & Misdiagnosis

If you read medical malpractice blogs like this one long enough, you may come to the conclusion that incompetent doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists are everywhere. The truth is, most medical professionals are highly skilled and dedicated to their profession. They do their best to avoid errors and provide patients with the best possible care.

A new study published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine claims that a tiny minority of U.S. physicians are committing a big chunk of the medical malpractice in this country. Specifically, about 1 percent of doctors paid out a third of all compensation to malpractice victims from 2005 through 2014, Medscape says in an article about the study.

The study is based on information from a national database. Not only was one out of three successful claims made against 1 percent of the nation’s doctors, 12 percent of claims were tied to just 0.2 percent of practicing physicians.

This suggests two things: one, the majority of doctors never need to compensate a patient financially for errors, because they are not negligent. And two, those doctors who have committed a negligent mistake tend to have done so multiple times in their careers. In other words, when a doctor is bad, he or she is really bad. The data “suggests that there is some underlying factor that is predisposing certain physicians to malpractice claims,” the study’s lead author said.

What could that factor be? The author suggested poor communication skills among some doctors could be to blame.


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