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What’s the reason for all the medical malpractice claims?

When it comes to medical malpractice, many people believe this is a widespread problem. While they are right, to a certain degree, a recent study finds that one percent of active doctors in the United States are responsible for approximately 33 percent of all claims.

The study also added this interesting nugget of information: The more paid medical malpractice claims incurred by a doctor, the greater risk there is of another paid claim in the future.

The study, led by a professor of medicine and law at Stanford University, noted it might be possible in the future to pinpoint the doctors with the greatest chance of another claim. He said:

"I think a lot of liability insurers and health care organizations have not taken that analytical step to really understand who these folks are."

The study took into account data from the U.S. National Practitioner Data Bank, which collects information related to medical malpractice claims and payments. The study included roughly 67,000 claims against more than 50,000 doctors, all between the years of 2005 and 2014.

The study found that only six percent of active doctors in the United States paid a claim during the 10 year period. Even so, more than $24 billion was paid to satisfy court settlements and verdicts.

The study proves that medical malpractice remains a major problem in the United States. Furthermore, it proves that some doctors are much more likely to be involved in a claim than others. As a patient in Maryland, it is important to do your part in learning more about a doctor's past. This does not guarantee you will avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice, but it can help.

Source: CBS News, "Small number of doctors behind big share of malpractice claims," Karen Pallarito, HealthDay, Jan. 27, 2016

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