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Medical Malpractice Stats You Need to Know


Medical malpractice continues to be a serious problem in America. An estimated 225,000 people die each year from some form of medical malpractice, from incorrect dosages and diagnosis to surgical errors. However, only 2% of those who suffer from medical malpractice or their families ever file claims for compensation.

The Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice can include:

  • A failure to diagnose
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • A hospital infection
  • Overprescribing or underprescribing drugs
  • A birth injury
  • Leaving an instrument in a patient
  • Ignoring a patient and their symptoms

The Institute of Medicine estimates that medication errors are the most common of medical errors, with 1.5 million people suffering injury from these mistakes each year. We also know medical malpractice increases when a medical resident or doctor works long hours without sleep. On average, residents in their first year as doctors can go more than 36 hours without and surgeons who are on-call can usually log more than a 72-hour work weeks.

But who is being disciplined for medical malpractice? Over five percent of doctors account for 54.2% of malpractice errors, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank. It finds that 13 percent of doctors who have five medical malpractice strikes against them have actually been disciplined. Florida ranks at the bottom of states that take medical license revocations seriously in that they result in payouts. According to Public Citizen’s January 2007 study, “The Great Medical Malpractice Hoax”, three out of 10 doctors who had 10+ malpractice claims for which they had paid an injured patient, continue to practice to this day. That also means doctors without any malpractice claims are covering the insurance for the doctors with the most claims.

In Florida alone, 3,000 to over 5,000 deaths occur each year from medical malpractice. That is more than the combined number who die of homicide, breast cancer, and AIDS combined.

When malpractice treatments do end up going to trial, there are almost always payouts when serious injuries do occur. Of the 94% of medical malpractice payments (jury verdicts and settlements), 82% of the payments were to compensate the most severe injuries such as severe brain injury, paralysis or the loss of limbs. According to a published survey in the New England Journal of Medicine, the annual cost to society over medical malpractice in terms of lost income, disability, and health care costs is estimated to be between $17 and $29 billion.

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