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Medical Malpractice Changes in the Last Decade

Medical technology has advanced greatly over the past decade. Medical breakthroughs have included using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve patient care, genomic advancements, and virtual reality (VR) for surgeons. Unfortunately, one area that has not changed much over the past ten years is medical malpractice. Doctors and hospitals are still making many of the same mistakes that can cause serious injury or death to patients. 

Malpractice Insurance Report

Coverys is one of the largest medical malpractice insurance providers in the country. Coverys recently released their report on the status of malpractice claims over the past ten years in A Call for Action: Insights From a Decade of Malpractice Claims. One of the main takeaways from the insurance company’s report is that not a lot has changed, asking the question, why haven’t we made more progress to improve patient safety?

When the insurance company has to pay out after a medical error, the severity of the injury is closely split between fatal injuries, high-severity injuries, and medium-severity injuries. Fatal injuries may have to provide damages to the family after the loss of a loved one, including funeral and burial costs, loss of income, and loss of the relationship. High severity injuries may have damages that include loss of function, future medical care, and pain and suffering.

Doctors with multiple claims for medical malpractice include the following top specialties: 

For doctors with multiple malpractice claims, 63% of all surgical claims involve a surgeon with multiple claims. The top surgical specialties with multiple claims include:

Medical malpractice can be based on a number of errors or negligent actions. The top 4 allegations against doctors for malpractice include:

  • Surgery or medical procedure-related claims
  • Diagnosis-related claims
  • Medical treatment
  • Medication-related claims

Surgery claims could involve improper anesthesia administration, leaving an object behind in the patient after surgery, unnecessary surgery, wrong-patient errors, or failing to get informed consent for a medical procedure. Diagnosis-related claims could include failure to order a test, ordering the wrong diagnostic test, or failing to properly interpret test results. Medical treatment events could include failure to treat a patient, delay in treatment, or providing unnecessary treatment. Medication-related claims include wrong dosage, dangerous drug interactions, or wrong medication prescriptions. 

Lack of Communication

The insurance provider found more than 41% of events related to communication issues resulted in death or high injury severity. Why is communication such an issue in the healthcare industry? Some of the communication problems involve hand-off protocols. When one doctor, healthcare office, or hospital is taking over from another, handoff procedures are supposed to communicate important issues involving the patient to ensure they receive proper care. 

Another communication problem that can lead to medical malpractice is a lack of communication between the doctor and patient. This can lead to inadequate informed consent for treatment options, inadequate patient education, and misunderstanding the patient’s care, treatment, diagnosis, and scheduling.

After a Medical Mistake

If you were injured because of a medical error, your injury may have been caused by medical negligence. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Contact us for help today online or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases.


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