Those who enter the medical practice generally do so because of a desire to help heal those who are ill. Like any profession, mistakes can happen. These mistakes can be purely accidental or result from negligence. Whatever the cause, a patient who suffers an injury due to the mistake may pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Certain specialties are at an increased risk of allegations of medical malpractice. According to a recent report from Medscape, the specialties most likely to face a lawsuit in 2019 were as follows:
- General surgery
- Obstetrician/Gynecology and Women’s Health
- Specialized surgery
Others rounding out the top ten included Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, and anesthesiology. Leading reasons for the lawsuit included a failure or delay in diagnosis, complications from the procedure like surgery or a treatment plan and a poor outcome or progression of the disease.
Another interesting finding: 52% of physicians who received notice of the lawsuit were surprised by the legal action.
Medical malpractice lawsuits threaten the physician’s profession in a number of ways. First, it can trigger a review from the state licensing board. Second, it takes up a great deal of time, making it more difficult to see to patients’ medical care. Those surveyed in the report noted they spent over 40 hours building a defense to the allegations. Physicians who work long hours to help their patients rarely of time to spare.
Putting aside such a large chunk of time to build a defense both to the legal suit and to any potential license investigation can be very difficult. Physicians can mitigate the amount of time by seeking legal counsel promptly after receiving notice of the lawsuit.