A large medical malpractice insurance company recently studied 1,800 reported adverse incidents and claims involving nurse practitioners that were closed between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2011 and subsequently reviewed and analyzed 200 of the claims against nurse practitioners that resulted in an indemnity payment (money paid on behalf of an insured nurse practitioner to settle a claim or pay a judgment) that was in excess of $10,000. Source
The medical malpractice insurance company reported that the average payment for those closed claims was $221,852 (an increase of 19% from the average payment of $186,282 for the period from 1998 to 2008). 46.5% of the closed claims resulted in indemnity payments between $10,000 and $99,999 (4% were over $1,000,000). 96% of the nurse practitioners for whom indemnity payments in excess of $10,000 were made had individual policies (as opposed to policies issued to a medical practice).
75.5% of the claims involved adult medical, primary care, and family practice. The medical malpractice claims included allegations of failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosis, improper care and treatment, failure to refer patients to emergency care, and improper prescribing or management of medications.
6.5% of the claims involved behavioral health (average indemnity payment: $203,365), 5% involved gynecology (average indemnity payment: $253,783), and 7% involved obstetrics (average indemnity payment: $437,000), pediatrics (average indemnity payment: $525,000), and emergency medicine (average indemnity payment: $273,613).
36.5% of the claims arose in physician offices (for which the average indemnity payment was higher than the overall average), 18.5% arose in community-based outpatient clinics, 13.5% arose in skilled nursing facilities, 7% arose in nurse practitioner private practice settings, 3% arose in the freestanding emergency/urgent or convenient care setting, 1.5% arose in an inpatient hospital setting, 1.5% arose in a hospital outpatient clinic setting, and 1% arose in the patient home setting.
Diagnostic-related claims accounted for 43.0% of the closed claims (30% for failure to diagnose and 13% for delay in diagnosis), treatment and care management claims accounted for 29.5%, medication prescribing claims accounted for 16.5%, equipment-related claims accounted for 3.5%, and monitoring-related claims accounted for 1.5% of the closed claims.
Failure to diagnosis infection, abscess, or sepsis accounted for 10% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment in the amount of $208,917. Failure to diagnose cancer and benign tumors accounted for 7.5% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment in the amount of $242,719. Failure to diagnose stroke (CVA) accounted for 1.5% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment in the amount of $466,013. Failure to diagnose pulmonary embolism (PE) accounted for 1% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment in the amount of $925,000.
Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests accounted for 10% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment of $181,698. Failure to obtain consultation to establish patient diagnosis accounted for 9% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment of $354,792. Failure or delay in obtaining or addressing diagnostic test results accounted for 3.5% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment of $178,543. Failure to obtain or refer the patient for immediate emergency treatment accounted for 3% of the closed claims and resulted in an average indemnity payment of $465,833.
If you have a medical malpractice claim against a nurse practitioner, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your nurse practitioner malpractice claim for you and represent you in a nurse practitioner medical malpractice clase, if appropriate.
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