Most Doctors Will Face Malpractice Suit, AMA Says
Side Note: This article reports on newly released data from the AMA. The AMA’s survey collected a variety of information on malpractice cases from a large number of physicians. The results showed that a sizable majority of physicians over 55 have been sued, and that a majority of doctors will probably be sued in their careers. The survey confirmed some trends in malpractice cases, finding that obstetrics and surgery are still the highest-risk specialties and that family medicine and psychiatry present lower exposure to lawsuits. One interesting finding was that men are twice as likely as women to be sued, probably due at least in part to the fact that they are overrepresented in high-risk specialties. This data confirms a dangerous trend toward an ever more litigious society at a time when health care costs are already skyrocketing. This trend will exacerbate the problem of defensive medicine, costing consumers billions of dollars. Meaningful tort reform can help reverse this troubling course, so it is vital that physicians and health care consumers lobby their representatives in Congress to pass measures like caps on non-economic damages, decreased statutes of limitations and more stringent qualifications for expert witnesses.
by Emily Walker
WASHINGTON — More than 60 percent of doctors over the age of 55 have been sued at least once, according to a new survey by the American Medical Association (AMA).
Although most of those claims are dropped or dismissed, the new survey from the AMA shows that most physicians will be sued for malpractice at some point in their careers. This works out to an average of 95 medical malpractice lawsuits having been filed for every 100 physicians now in practice, according to the association.
“This litigious climate hurts patients’ access to physician care at a time when the nation is working to reduce unnecessary health care costs,” said AMA immediate past president Dr. J. James Rohack in a prepared statement.