Doctors with Poor Performance Still able to Practice Medicine

Doctors with Poor Performance Still able to Practice Medicine

More than nine out of ten doctors who have lost five or more malpractice suits still continue to see patients regularly. Doctors with poor records are also 45 percent more likely to give up medicine and do something else, which is higher than the percentage of doctors with clean records.

A study looked at malpractice by linking a federal database of successful medical malpractice suits and a national Medicare database of physicians. From 2003 to 2015 89 percent of physicians had no successful claims of medical malpractice against them, nine percent had one successful claim against them, and two percent had two or more successful claims against them.

Researchers wanted to see how medical malpractice affects people’s willingness to see a doctor. They found that doctors keep practicing medicine and patients generally keep going to them. While doctors who are successfully sued for medical malpractice do not generally lose business, doctors with four claims saw five percent fewer Medicare patients and doctors with five claims saw 11 percent fewer Medicare patients.

Doctors with five or more successful claims of medical malpractice against them are also twice as likely to go into solo practice. This is problematic because doctors who give poor care are more dangerous on their own with no oversight. They also cannot receive help or advice from other doctors, putting patients in danger.

Doctors who gain a lot of malpractice claims are most likely able to continue practicing medicine because states give little to no information about claims against physicians. Referring physicians and patients are also not paying close attention to the amount of medical malpractice cases against doctors.

If you have been a victim of medical malpractice or error call us at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form below to speak to an attorney and learn your options.

Dennis Thompson, “For many doctors hounded by medical malpractice claims, it’s business as usual” Chicago Tribune (March 29, 2019). [Link]

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