6% of Doctors Responsible for all Medical Malpractice Claims
Physicians Repeatedly Causing Harm
We go to the doctor because we are sick. And we trust that the doctors we see know what they are doing. That they will help us. But sometimes, we encounter doctors who commit medical malpractice over and over again. A 2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 1% of doctors are responsible for 32% medical malpractice events. Some repeat offenders have been found liable for malpractice more than 6 times! Those doctors are 12 times more likely than other physicians to commit malpractice in the future. And yet, they keep practicing medicine on their unsuspecting patients. These medical professionals are a “risk to the health and well-being of their patients.” But, no one stops them.
Patients Should be able to Identify Dangerous Doctors
The NEJM study notes, “if claim-prone physicians account for a substantial share of all claims, the ability to reliably identify them before they accumulate troubling track records would be valuable.” This is an understatement. People who are victims of medical malpractice suffer greatly. Many experience years of pain and suffering. Often the damage is permanent. Other victims die, leaving their families to suffer grief at the loss of their loved ones. In fact, one third of the claims in the study involved “patient deaths” while 54% were involved “‘major’ or ‘significant’ physical injury.” And the study acknowledges that medical malpractice is frequently underreported.
Track Doctors Better!
Why can’t medical the profession find a way to track and stop doctors who repeatedly commit medical malpractice? A decrease in incidents of medical malpractice benefit everyone. It decreases the pain and suffering of innocent victims. It stops the necessity of paying out claims. Yet, because most medical malpractice cases settle and include a confidentiality agreement, there is no way for the public to learn that a doctor repeatedly injures their patients. Perhaps doctors who are repeat offenders should not be allowed to hide the harm they cause from those who would turn to them for help.