Medical malpractice is a problem that affects and hurts thousands upon thousands of Americans
each year. But despite how widespread the issue is, a 2016 study published
by the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that a disproportionately
small percentage of medical practitioners are to blame for a significant
percentage of the cases.
The study reviewed paid medical malpractice claims – or those that
ended in favor of the plaintiff – between the year 2005 and 2014,
totally in more than 54,000 physicians reviewed. It concluded that roughly
1% of all doctors could be linked to a staggering 32% of all the claims
within that time period. The ten-year analysis determined that 84% of
all physicians had at least one lawsuit filed against them, 16% had two
claims filed against them, and 4% had three or more.
The data also suggested that a doctor’s chances of incurring another
lawsuit, and therefore causing additional undue harm to patients, increased
exponentially as the number of lawsuits filed against them in the past
also increased. That is to say, that if a doctor violated practice rules
but did not lose their license, they would continue to violate those regulations
and safety standards in the future.
Why are Repeat Offenders Still Practicing?
The results of the expansive study are simultaneously promising and disheartening.
On one hand, it suggests that if a medical practitioner does cause harm,
they are highly likely to learn from their negligence and not cause it
again – as seen in the disparity between single and double offenders.
On the other hand, it indicates that there is little to no disciplinary
action being used to remove repeat offenders – two or more paid
cases against them – from practice.
In order to stop the spread of medical malpractice and the injuries it
causes, it may be necessary to implement strict regulations onto medical
institutions and their employees. Government involvement could possibly
help establish a new set of guidelines when it comes to penalizing negligent
In the meantime, seeking justice is on the shoulders of the injured. If
you have been hurt by your doctor and you need compensation,
contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC. Our Louisville medical malpractice attorney
can hear your claim for free when you call
502.242.8877 and ask for an initial consultation.