Top 3 reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits

Most physicians will be sued at some point in their career for malpractice, according to a recent survey from Medscape. The survey shows by the time respondents were age 60 and above, the rate who had experienced at least one lawsuit reached 80 percent.

Here are the top three reasons physicians said they were sued for malpractice. Respondents could select more than one answer.

1. Failure to diagnose — 31 percent
2. Patient suffered abnormal injury — 31 percent
3. Failure to treat — 12 percent

Other less common reasons stated included errors in medication administration (4 percent), poor documentation of patient instruction and education (4 percent), failure to follow safety procedures (3 percent) and improperly obtained, or lack of, informed consent (3 percent).

Of the roughly 4,000 physicians surveyed, many also provided reasons they were sued qualitatively. These reasons spanned injuries or death during surgeries, late or misdiagnosis of cancer, in-hospital or postoperative infections, birth defects or fetal death and, "Who knows?"


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