Coverys, “a nationally recognized medical professional liability insurer and a leader in helping the medical community address the challenges of healthcare delivery in today’s rapidly changing landscape,” published a report in October 2020 entitled “A Call For Action: Insights From a Decade of Malpractice Claims” based on data derived from 11,907 events pertaining to 20,211 closed claims at Coverys from 2010 through 2019.
The report uses the term “event” to represent all parties involved during a patient episode of care where a claim is made against at least one of the healthcare providers. The report states that a “claim” refers to individual claims made against each specific healthcare provider and facility involved in the patient episode of care.
The report states: “Despite concerted efforts to improve patient safety over the past 20 years, patients continue to experience high-severity injury outcomes. This report documents how efforts in the decade following the 10-year anniversary of To Err Is Human have not delivered optimal results. It raises vital questions and renewed areas of focus … This glimpse into general claims trends shows that change has been fairly stagnant over the past decade. Patients continue to experience high-severity injury outcomes and clinicians and organizations are seeing increasingly high financial payouts … Despite significant innovations over the past decade, the negative and lasting impact of injuries has remained fairly constant. Events involving high-severity injuries and death account for 33% of claims with little variability in the distribution from year to year.”
Surgery-Related Medical Malpractice Claims
Coverys reports: “Surgery/procedure-related allegations are the most frequent in our data, followed closely by diagnosis-related allegations. Diagnosis-related allegations are the costliest. Surgery/procedure and diagnosis-related allegations combined account for 57% of allegations and 59% of indemnity paid. It follows that if focused attention is paid to significant—and sustained— improvement in those two categories alone, it could have a major positive impact on improved patient safety and could result in fewer malpractice claims … Surgery events have the second-highest total indemnity (18%). Average gross paid indemnity for surgery/procedure-related events was $374,449. Surgery/procedure-related events are the most common allegation category. Surgery performance issues accounted for 78% of events and 72% of indemnity paid. Performance-related issues, specifically technical skill, predominate in these events.”
“66% of events occur in surgery and 17% in the physician office, before dropping to 3% in clinics and emergency departments, and finally, 2% in the patient’s hospital room.”
“General surgery and orthopedic surgery specialties account for 17% and 16% of events respectively, and 24% and 11% of indemnity paid.”
“Technical skill, clinical judgment, and behavior-related allegations surface as the top risk management categories. The recurring themes of patient assessment and diagnosis of clinical condition are two of the sub-factors comprising clinical judgment.”
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of surgical medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly find a a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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