A look at orthopedic surgeon and neurosurgeon medical malpractice

We recently read an article in a hospital industry publication that contained some interesting numbers about orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. The facts in the piece were apparently culled from a RAND report released in 2013 on the U.S. medical malpractice system.

The article we read on the report was directed to those two groups of surgeons, informing them of the statistical likelihood of one day facing a medical malpractice claim.

It’s expected that a publication devoted to the hospital industry would express concern over issues important to surgeons and other doctors. While the article did that, it unfortunately did not contain a single word about the impact on the victims of medical malpractice: the patients who are harmed by a physician’s negligence.

Perhaps that oversight is to be expected in a hospital industry publication. Regardless, let’s take a brief look at some of the article’s most interesting statistics:

  • About 4 percent of orthopedic surgeons annually pay on a malpractice claim
  • About 3.4 percent of neurosurgeons annually pay on a malpractice claim
  • Neurosurgery malpractice payments average $325,000
  • Orthopedic surgery malpractice payments average about $225,000
  • Among neurosurgery malpractice claims, the overwhelming majority (about 70 percent) were because of “improperly performed surgeries.” A failure by the doctor to properly diagnose accounted for nearly all the rest of the claims: 28 percent.

If you have been injured by a doctor’s negligence in surgery or diagnosis or other aspects of the practice of medicine, speak with a Glendale attorney experienced in medical malpractice matters.

Source: Becker’s Healthcare, “12 statistics on medical malpractice for orthopedic, neurosurgeons,” Laura Dyrda, Dec. 15, 2014