Medical Journal Highlights Frequency of Doctors and Specialties With Medical Malpractice Cases November 8, 2011.

Being a doctor is a high stress job. One mistake and a lawsuit could happen.

Not all doctors face lawsuits, and typically, there are some specialties that get sued more than others, but that is not common knowledge. That information, or at least a snapshot of that information, was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their study covered close to 41,000 medical malpractice claims against doctors across America from 1991 to 2005. Most doctors in the study were an average age of 49 years old, with the low end being 30 and the high end being 70.

Of the 41,000 doctors sued, those that had a closed complaint relating to medical malpractice, just about 7.4 percent were sued regardless of what kind of medicine they practiced. Out of that number, at least 1.6 percent had to pay out on the claim. Overall, the New England Journal of Medicine study revealed that the most lawsuits were filed against the following specialties, from the most number of lawsuits to the least number of actions:

Most sued:

  • Neurosurgery
  • horacic-cardiovascular surgery (paid the most in plaintiff claims)
  • General surgery (paid the most in plaintiff claims)
  • Orthopedic surgery (paid the most in plaintiff claims)
  • Plastic surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology (paid the most in plaintiff claims)
  • Urology
  • Pulmonary medicine
  • Oncology

Least sued:

  • Psychiatry
  • Pediatrics
  • General practice family medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Pathology
  • Nephrology

Doctors paid out in only 20 percent of the filed lawsuits. The average payout was $247,887. One fact worth noting is that pediatric physicians, who do not get sued that often, paid out the highest amounts (likely due to the fact their patients are not adults and the harm caused is more significant), and neurosurgeons, who do get sued more often and had lower payouts (which may be due to the complexity of proving something went wrong).

The bottom line is that if you have been in a situation involving any of the various medical specialties we discussed in this article, and you feel it is medical malpractice, you will want to make a call to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

Not all bad outcomes with a doctor are classified as medical malpractice, and by consulting a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer, you will know if you have a case and whether or not you may move forward with that case.