I came across an interesting assortment of medical malpractice “quick facts” that I would like to share with my readers. We think we understand medical malpractice in popular culture or in the news, we may even know someone who was subjected to medical malpractice. Many of us believe that medical malpractice rarely occurs or that it occurs in underprivileged and smaller hospitals. However, very few of us actually understand the numbers behind medical malpractice. Very few of us understand the fear volume of medical malpractice victims that suffer. I know I really did not understand the severity of medical malpractice problems in the United States and in New York until I got into this position. I was shocked at what I learned and I am sure you will too!
According to the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 to 98,000 Americans died due to preventable medical errors each year! That is between 120.5 and 258.5 people dying EACH DAY! How unbelievable it that statistic?! And that is just in the United States—imagine the rest of the world! This, of course, proves costly. It results in approximately $17 to $29 billion in annual costs that society must pay for these medical errors. Due to these high costs, medical malpractice insurance was approximately $6.4 billion.
But what about frequency? Approximately one in eight preventable medical errors that are committed in hospitals actually results in a medical malpractice claim. That means many victims are not reporting their claims and seeking compensation or, in the alternative, their claims are not strong enough to make a claim. In fact, a slightly older study found that between 1995 and 2000, there were 90,212 claims of medical malpractice but only 86,480 in 2000. This equates to a four percent decrease. Moreover, punitive damages for doctors were awarded in less than 1 percent of all medical malpractice cases.
As for damage awards, there has been a slow and steady increase in the mean payout. Over a ten year span, malpractice payouts have grown an average of 6.2 percent per year. In a slightly older statistic from 2001, only 895 of the 16,676 medical malpractice payouts topped $1 million. That is a mere 5 percent of all cases. When we think about the tort reform, such high costs that we all know and infrequently see in the news are actually really, really rare.
Who actually commits the medical malpractice? According to statistics, only 5 percent of all doctors are responsible for 54 percent of all malpractice payouts! That is unbelievable! This is why you should also check to learn about your physician or surgeon before undergoing any procedures! What is even worse is that only 8 percent of all doctors with 2 or more malpractice payouts have been disciplined by their respective state’s medical board. What is even worse is that about 17 percent of doctors who have made 5 (!!) or more malpractice payouts have been disciplined by their respective state medical boards.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.