The specialties most, least likely to be sued: AMA

An American Medical Association analysis found 31.2 percent of physicians in 2022 reported they had previously been sued.

The survey asked 3,500 physicians over four years whether they had been sued, how many times and whether they had a claim filed in the last 12 months. The report noted that 65 percent of claims closed between 2016 and 2018 were dropped, dismissed or withdrawn, and of the 6 percent of claims that went to trial, 89 percent of physician defendants won. The survey found age, gender and specialty changed the risk of being sued.

Here are seven other survey findings:

  1. Of physicians over 54, 46.8 percent had been sued, compared with 9.5 percent of physicians under 40.

  2. Physicians over 54 had a one-to-one claim rate — 100 claims per 100 physicians — compared to physicians under 40, who had 11 claims per 100 physicians.

  3. Men faced higher rates of being sued. Of male physicians, 36.8 percent had been sued, compared to 23.8 percent of female physicians.

  4. Women also had 42 claims per 100 physicians, compared to 75 claims per 100 male physicians.

  5. Surgical specialities had the highest risk of being sued, and internal medicine subspecialties had the lowest risk.

  6. The specialties with the highest risk included obstetricians/gynecologists (62 percent) and general surgeons (59.3 percent). Even before age 55, 43.9 percent of general surgeons and 47.2 percent of obstetricians/gynecologists had been sued.

  7. The specialities with the lowest risk included allergists and immunologists (7 percent) and hematologists and oncologists (8 percent).

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