There are about 95 medical liability claims filed for every 100 physicians—or almost one per doctor—and nearly 61% of physicians age 55 and older have been sued, according to a report released by the American Medical Association and based on a survey of 5,825 “non-federal patient care physicians” conducted in 2007 and 2008.
Many docs have been target of lawsuits, survey finds
The survey, which included doctors practicing across 42 specialties, found that 42.2% of the respondents had a claim filed against them at some point, with more than 20% of physicians sued at least twice.
As physicians age, it is more likely they will get sued, according to the survey, which found that only 15.3% of doctors under age 40 had been sued and only 4.2% had been sued twice; 45.3% doctors between 40 and 54 had been sued, with 22.3% having been sued twice; and 60.5% of doctors 55 and older had been sued, with 39.2% having been sued at least twice.
The study also found that 47.5% of male physicians had been sued, with 26.3% having been sued twice; and that 23.9% of female doctors had been sued and only 9.4% had been sued twice.
The most-sued specialties were obstetricians/gynecologists and general surgeons, with 69.2% of them being sued; while psychiatrists were the least sued at 22.2%.
In another study, the Illinois State Medical Society and the ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co. malpractice insurer surveyed some 1,100 Illinois physicians between June 21 and July 2, and 66% said they have personally reduced or eliminated high-risk services or procedures because of the threat of being sued, 82% said they viewed each patient as a liability risk, and 89% said that liability concerns caused them to “order more tests than are medically needed.”
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