Are Doctors Who Face Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Repeat Offenders?

Are doctors in medical malpractice cases repeat offenders? That is what a Huffington Post article proposes. The article’s claims are based on research recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The research is based on data from the US National Practitioner Data Bank. A few of the more startling statistics published include the following:

  • Of the medical malpractice settlements paid out in the US from 2005 to 2014, 1 percent of doctors were responsible for 32 percent of the settlements.
  • Doctors who have already settled two medical malpractice claims are twice as likely to be involved in another hospital negligence lawsuit than a doctor with only one medical malpractice settlement.
  • Doctors who have settled three medical malpractice lawsuits are three times as likely as doctors with less medical malpractice settlements to be on the hook for another settlement due to medical errors in the future.
  • If a doctor has six or more medical malpractice settlements to his or her name, he or she is 12 times as likely as doctors with less than six hospital negligence settlements to add another medical malpractice settlement to his or her record in the future.

Are Certain Doctors More Likely to Commit Medical Malpractice?

It is disturbing that doctors with a history of repeated medical errors are still able to practice in some cases. Hopefully, doctors and insurers can do a much better job of pinpointing risky physicians and preventing them from continuing to harm patients. One way to identify doctors who are more likely to commit medical malpractice is their practice area. Certain areas of medicine tend to be the target of medical malpractice claims than others, including:

  • Gynecology
  • Neurosurgery
  • General surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Plastic surgery

In addition, under federal law, if a healthcare institution is considering allowing a doctor to practice in their facility, it must conduct a thorough background check, including the physician’s disciplinary and medical malpractice history. Unfortunately, while hospitals need to know a doctor’s history before allowing him or her to practice in their facility, it may not necessarily play a factor in their final decision regarding the matter.

Stanley A. Davis is a medical malpractice attorney in Nashville with nearly two decades of experience defending the rights of the victims of hospital negligence throughout Davidson County.

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That is your responsibility.’” Matthew 27:3-4