Malpractice suits against cardiologists jump 91% between 2006-15

Cardiology-related medical malpractice lawsuits significantly increased in the U.S. between 2006-15, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

For the study, researchers analyzed 1,538 cardiology-related malpractice litigation claims filed between 2006-15 using the Controlled Risk Insurance Company's Comparative Benchmarking Systems database, which includes information on more than 350,000 medical malpractice cases nationwide.

Overall, the total number of claims and annual indemnity payments in cardiology both increased during the study period. Raw counts of cardiology claims jumped 91 percent between 2006-15, while total liability paid increased 142 percent.

Researchers found the most common allegations were improper medical treatment and diagnostic error. Sixty-eight percent of claims were decreased, denied or dismissed. Of the remaining cases, 30 percent were settled outside of court.

"With increasing healthcare costs and the high cost of spending driven by defensive medicine, shedding light on recent litigation trends is critical for understanding current tort patterns, especially in the field of cardiology, a specialty with higher rates of malpractice suits than average," the researchers wrote in the study. "Understanding the characteristics of these liability claims and common types of patient injuries can aid cardiologists in mitigating malpractice risk and better patient care."

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