Top 7 reasons doctors get slapped with malpractice suits

Part of the problem: The current approach to dealing with malpractice suits is insufficient
By Jack McCarthy
10:49 AM

Malpractice suits can have such a severe impact that more than half of physicians admit that the threat of a lawsuit influences their thinking and action with every patient.

That's according to the "Medscape Malpractice Report for 2015: Top Reasons Doctors Get Sued." The survey, in fact, shows that doctors are living with the cloud of lawsuits hanging over their heads and the report ends with some dire conclusions.

"More than a few (doctors) said that (being sued) was the worst experience of their lives, and many said that the effects last for years," the report explained. "It has produced widespread disillusionment among physicians concerning the care of patients, the legal system and medicine as a profession." 

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The top seven reasons that physicians gets slapped with medical malpractice suits, according to Medscape:

1. Failure to diagnose (31 percent) 
2. Patient suffered an abnormal injury (31 percent)
3. Failure to treat (12 percent) 
4. Poor documentation of patient instruction and education (4 percent)
5. Errors in medication administration (4 percent) 
6. Failure to follow safety procedures (3 percent) 
7. Improperly obtaining/lack of informed consent (3 percent) 

The survey said malpractice suits have long-term emotional or financial effects more than half of the time, but only 7 percent of the 400 respondents indicated that they would leave employer because of it.

Overall, the survey paints a picture of a profession struggling to cope with the prevalence of lawsuits. "It is obvious," the report said, "that the current approach for dealing with medical errors is not only inefficient but is damaging to the healthcare system as a whole."

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