What is the Second Most Common Medical Malpractice Claim?

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Even routine surgical procedures come with risks. In addition to the obvious impact on the patient, surgical errors are responsible for a significant number of medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical liability insurer, Coverys Inc., released a report on the impact of surgery risks on medical malpractice claims. The report found that surgical errors are the second most common cause of medical malpractice claims. In fact, only diagnosis-related claims resulted in more medical malpractice cases. If you were injured as a result of a surgical error, a skilled medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and recommend the best course of action.

The report noted that surgeons are expected to perform more surgical procedures in less time to increase productivity and profitability. Unfortunately, the pressure to perform more procedures can have a negative impact on patient safety. The report also found that patients were impacted by errors during all phases of the surgical process, from preoperative care and decision-making to postoperative care and follow-up treatment.

Highlights from the Study

The researchers examined closed medical claims from 2014 to 2018 and found the following:

  • Surgery-related issues were responsible for 25 percent of malpractice claims.
  • Of those claims, 78 percent were related to practitioner performance during the surgical procedure.
  • The following surgical specialties made up close to 50 percent of surgery-related claims:
    – General surgery: 22 percent
    – Orthopedic surgery: 17 percent
    – Neurosurgery: eight percent
  • Approximately 30 percent of the surgical-related injuries were permanently significant, and nine percent were fatal.
  • In 39 percent of claims, the cause of the injury was cited as lack of skill, and 27 percent of the claims pointed to a failure in clinical judgment or poor communication.
  • Other issued cited included:
    – Leaving a foreign body in the patient: seven percent
    – Performing an unnecessary surgical procedure: four percent
    – Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong side/site/patient: three percent
    – Delay in surgery: three percent

The authors offered recommendations for each stage of surgery that would improve outcomes and help avoid future malpractice lawsuits. For example, prior to surgery, physicians should make sure that the patient understands the reason for the operation and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. The patient should have the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns. The surgeon should document these discussions, including the patient’s response, and insert them in the patient’s medical record. The authors also encourage hospitals to ensure there are no distractions or other nonessential activities in the operating room.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Surgical Errors 

If you suffered an injury as a result of a surgical error, contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review your case to determine whether your health care professional was negligent in any way. We will guide you through the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.