Which Specialties Get Sued The Most in USA?

"Being sued" in medical practice implies facing Malpractice litigation claims by patients seeking compensation from doctors for damages caused by either omission of good care or commission of bad care or both. The risk is very real for doctors in the US and many a times courts have awarded millions of dollars to the patients.

Recently, this has been a cause of great concern to the country, since eventually, it increases the cost of healthcare in the US and people's taxes and health insurance premiums go up !

Being sued to the tune of gigantic dollars threatens to put a physician out of practice - this is why almost physicians in USA get themselves 'covered' by purchasing malpractice insurance.

Premiums i.e. the amount physicians have to pay each year to the protecting company, depend on the 'risk' of the specialty that the physician practices in.

Top specialties where doctor's get sued most often:

1. Obstetrics - Gynecology
2. Neurosurgery
3. General Surgery
4. Emergency medicine
5. Orthopedic surgery
6. Radiology 
7. Family Practice

Obstetrics-Gynecology presents with the highest risk of being sued by patients for malpractice and premiums that physicians must pay out of their own pockets can average $35,000 a year and sometimes much more in group / private practice ! According to Dr.Ronald Uva, chair of district II of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, liability premiums that ob-gyn docs must pay each year to cover themselves from losing their roofs in event of being sued, range from 40,000$ in upstate NY and a whopping $120,000/- in downstate !

Read this interesting article that says 76% Obstetricians get sued atleast once in the USA

State Variations in Premium rates are vast, often forcing doctors to pack bags and start up another practice in another state. For example I read about how Dr. Zimet left his orthopedic surgery practice in Pennsylvania after his yearly malpractice premiums hit $105,000/- and shifted to Virginia where the rates were $33,000 a year.

Bottom line.

Nо onе cаn prоmise immunity frоm lаwsuits. Hоwеvеr, dеvеlоping еxcеllеnt rеlаtiоnships with pаtiеnts; prоmоting gооd cоmmunicаtiоn with pаtients, cоlleagues and оther mеmbеrs оf the cаre tеam; maintaining clinical cоmpеtence; аnd prоducing аccurate and legible chаrts can go a long way toward reducing liability risk.

Read Also: What is Medical Malpractice?

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