Most cardiologists sued for malpractice felt patients don't understand medical risks

When asked why most malpractice suits occur, 67 percent of cardiologists said patients blame bad outcomes on physicians because they don't understand medical risks, according to Medscape's Malpractice Report published Jan. 22.

Data was collected from an online Medscape survey of 4,360 U.S. physicians, including 131 cardiologists, conducted Aug. 6 to Sept. 26, 2019.

Here are six survey findings:

1. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of cardiologists have been named in at least one malpractice suit. Eighteen percent of cardiologists were the only parties sued, while 54 percent said other parties were also named.

2. Almost 6 out of 10 (57 percent) cardiologists were very surprised they were being sued, while only 16 percent were "not at all surprised." 

3. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of cardiologists said the case was settled before trial. Of cardiologists whose cases went to trial, 17 percent said the verdict was in their favor, while 3 percent said it returned in the plaintiff's favor.

4. As a result of a lawsuit, 53 percent of cardiologists said nothing changed, while 34 percent said they no longer trust patients and treat them differently.

5. When asked what they would do differently, 23 percent of cardiologists said they would have better chart documentation, and 13 percent said they would have ordered tests that would have "covered" them in case a malpractice suit was brought against them.

6. When asked if medical organizations or societies were doing enough to discourage lawsuits, 54 percent of cardiologists said, "No, they should be doing more." 

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