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Are referrals affected by medical malpractice lawsuits?


New Jersey residents who have been injured at the hands of negligent physicians often consult professional attorneys to initiate a medical negligence case. Medical malpractice, commonly known as medical negligence, can result in serious injuries to the patients. One would naturally assume that a doctor who has a history of medical negligence lawsuits would not be recommended by the patients or other doctors. In many cases however, the doctors, especially specialist physicians, depend on referrals and recommendations in order to practice in various hospitals.

A study was conducted by authorities to understand if there were any effects on the number of referrals received by a physician on the basis of the number of medical malpractice lawsuits that had been lodged against him or her. Various factors play a role in the referrals based on the medical malpractice lawsuits.

The seriousness of the medical negligence itself was found to be a crucial factor in determining the referral rates. Furthermore, the frequency of the physician being negligent, along with the cost of the medical malpractice lawsuit along with any non-economic damages awarded by the courts were looked into in order to determine the affect of negligence due to referrals.

The study revealed that the greatest negative impact on referrals was not just by the cost of the medical negligence lawsuit, but by the non-economic damages awarded. If the courts found cause for awarding non-economic damages amounting to the limit of $250,000, the chances of being referred to other hospitals decreases substantially. Thus, the family of the victim of malpractice who has initiated a lawsuit with the help of their attorneys not only gets justice for themselves, but may also prevent others from suffering at the hands of such physicians.

Source: NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov, "The effect of medical malpractice on rate of referrals received by specialist physicians," Xiao Xu, Stephen J. Spurr, Bin Nan and A. Mark Fendrick, accessed on July 31, 2015

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