Malpractice cases: doctors, beware of the precedent
Claims against malpractice in the US: 66,426 paid cases out of more than 54 thousand ones brought against white coats between 2005 and 2014; approximately 1% of all physicians accounted for 32% of paid claims. These are the results of a Stanford University study recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine. In order to track their professional profile and consequently improve the quality of therapy, US researchers analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, and they showed that the risk of recurrence increased with the number of previous paid claims: over the examined period, among physicians with paid claims, 84% received only one (accounting for 68% of all paid claims), 16% received at least two paid claims (accounting for 32% of the claims), and 4% received at least three paid claims (accounting for 12% of the claims). Risks of recurrence also varied widely according to specialties: for example, the risk among neurosurgeons is four times as great as the risk among psychiatrists or internists. Among the categories at lower risk, there are pediatricians. Moreover, male doctors have a 38% greater risk of a second claim than their female colleagues. Age factor is important too: doctors under 35 risk less than older colleagues. The study shows that being able to identify this small minority of “malpractitioners” could resize these rapidly growing figures.In France as well, malpractice claims against medical staff are increasing, but the truly alarming statistic is about Italy, since the number of claims has more than doubled in the last 20 years: actually, there are approximately 30 thousand cases per year, which means about 2,6 cases each 1,000 admissions. In their words, doctors are in trouble because of the growing costs of the insurance policies that they are forced to draw up.