Doctor survey focuses on medical malpractice

There's No Substitute for Experience

When a Tennessee resident hears something wrong with their car, if that person is not a mechanic, it is quite standard for them to take their car to a shop in order to have someone who knows cars figure out what is wrong.

This same line of thinking is also rather common when someone does not feel well. Not knowing medicine themselves, this is when a person would go to a doctor who is trained and licensed to figure out what is wrong.

However, according to a recent Medscape survey, a good number of doctors end up being accused of either not properly diagnosing a patient or not properly treating a patient. In some cases, these mistakes end up leading to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Roughly 3,500 doctors responded in this Medscape survey. Of those, about 40 percent reported being sued for medical malpractice during their careers.

According to the survey, those doctors in internal medicine saw the highest number of lawsuits, followed by those in family medicine. OB-GYN, psychiatry and cardiology doctors also made the list, along with physicians in gastroenterology, pediatrics and emergency medicine.

Among those doctors who have been sued, 35 percent said failure to diagnose was the reason behind the lawsuit. Another 17 percent said failure to treat was the reason.

Additionally, among those doctors who have been sued, 80 percent said they were not the only ones named in the lawsuit. This is due to the fact that it is not uncommon for other medical professionals -- including nurses, anesthesiologists and the actual facility -- to be named in medical malpractice lawsuits.

In looking at this, for the patient who suffers from a medical error, what this study goes to show is that medical malpractice lawsuits may be more common than one thought. Additionally, this survey shows goes to show that while some fields may be more common than others, there is no field of medicine completely susceptible to lawsuits.

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