Recent Trends In Paid Medical Malpractice Claims In The United States

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a national clearinghouse created by the U.S. Congress that receives and discloses reports on all licensure actions taken against health care practitioners and organizations and all negative actions or findings concluded against health care organizations. The information gathered by the NPDB can be accessed by hospitals, state licensing boards, and others who meet eligibility requirements as set forth in the law. Practitioners, providers, and suppliers can access their own information. The general public may request information that does not identify any particular practitioner or organization. Click here for further information regarding the NPDB.

A recent study of NPDB data regarding paid medical malpractice claims against physicians from 2005 through 2009 compared the number, magnitude, and type of paid medical malpractice claims in the hospital inpatient setting versus paid medical malpractice claims in the outpatient setting. The study found that of the 10,739 medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians during 2009, 4,910  (about 48%) were for medical malpractice events that occurred in the inpatient setting, 4,448 (about 43%) were for medical malpractice events that occurred in the outpatient setting, and 966 (about 9%) were for medical malpractice events that occurred in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The proportion of payments for medical malpractice events that occurred in the outpatient setting increased only slightly between 2005 and 2009 (from about 42% to about 43%) .  The most common reason for a payment of a medical malpractice claim in the outpatient setting was diagnostic (about 46%). The most common reason for a payment of a medical malpractice claim in the inpatient setting was surgical (about 34%). The two most common outcomes in paid medical malpractice claims in both the inpatient and outpatient settings were major injury and death. The mean payment amount for medical malpractice events in the inpatient setting ($362,965) was significantly higher than for the outpatient setting ($290,111).

Our take on the results of the study is that patients are equally exposed to medical negligence causing them harm in hospitals and in their health care providers’ offices. Since surgical procedures other than very minor procedures are most often undertaken in a hospital’s operating room, it makes sense that surgical medical malpractice would be more prevalent in the inpatient setting. Since health care providers routinely make diagnostic decisions in the outpatient setting, it makes sense that diagnostic errors would occur  more often in the outpatient setting. It also makes sense that major injuries and death would be the basis of most paid medical malpractice claims because medical malpractice attorneys are more willing to bring major medical malpractice claims as opposed to lesser injury claims that may be too expensive to bring against negligent health care providers.

Our website can help connect you with local medical malpractice lawyers in your area to assist you with your possible medical malpractice claim. You can also reach us toll free at 800-295-3959.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 10:21 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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