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Small percent of physicians responsible for costly doctor errors

Most New Jersey residents would probably agree that a few bad apples can appear to ruin the whole bunch. This is true in any number of professions, where a relatively small percentage of people can make serious mistakes can prove costly to everybody else. In the medical profession, it is vitally important to be meticulous in one's practice and adhere to the standards of care for one's area of expertise. If not, one can be subject to medical malpractice accusations -- even worse, a patient can be seriously harmed or even inadvertently killed in some situations.

Interestingly, a new report shows that only a small percentage of physicians are responsible for almost one-third of America's medical malpractice payouts. The study, which was published in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that just 1 percent of active U.S. doctors were involved in 32 percent of the total number of paid malpractice claims during a recent ten-year time span. The study also indicated that most doctors don't have a paid claim at all: only about 6 percent of all active U.S. doctors even had one paid claim.

The study also found some commonalities among physicians who had malpractice claims. For the most part, doctors who were found to be at risk of incurring future claims were most likely to be male and working as OB/GYNs, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons. This may not be surprising, because fatal medical errors involving pregnant women can affect two patients, both mother and baby, while wrong-site surgery and other surgical errors can also be devastating.

Of course, all errors in the medical field have the potential to cause serious harm. Physicians who prioritize the safety and well-being of their patients at all times are invaluable to the community. Doctors who skimp on safety and work carelessly or even recklessly can be held responsible for their errors. Seeking an experience attorney in cases such as these can help those affected form a solid plan of legal action.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Small number of doctors trigger big share of malpractice payouts," Karen Pallarito, Jan. 27, 2016

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