Healthcare News & Insights

Report: Docs should count on being sued at some point

It’s a virtual guarantee that physicians in the U.S. will be sued for malpractice at some point in their careers. How often they lose is a different matter. A new study by Harvard researchers reports that most doctors will be sued before they reach 65.

Doctors in the most high-risk specialties, such as neurosurgery and obstetrics are essentially assured they’ll face a suit at some point. But physicians in relatively low-risk practices, like family medicine, still have a 75% lifetime risk of a suit.

On the bright side, on average only 22% of suits result in a payment to the plaintiff. Of course, even successfully staving off a suit comes with costs — financial and otherwise — that physicians and their practices would understandably rather avoid.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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