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 medical practitioners.
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.