New York patients may be interested in a study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, that looked into the rate of recurring malpractice claims against physicians. People implicitly and explicitly trust their doctors on a daily basis, but medical errors can and do sometimes happen. Knowing some of the statistics behind malpractice claims can help patients make a more informed decision about their own well-being.

The study took a look at thousands of paid malpractice claims made against more than 54,000 doctors between 2005 and 2014 to determine whether any patterns could be inferred. Researchers noticed that, while most of these doctors had only one paid malpractice claim on their record, a minority seemed to be particularly prone to accumulating them. Of the more than 66,000 claims that were paid, 32 percent were made against only approximately 1 percent of the physicians.

According to a professor at Stanford who read the results, doctors who are subject to an unusually high number of lawsuits related to malpractice can adversely influence the entire health care system. The results suggest that the risk of doctors being subject to malpractice claims actually increases with each subsequent claim made. Doctors from the survey sample with three paid claims on their record were 24 percent more likely to incur a fourth claim in the subsequent two years.

Someone who has been harmed by doctor negligence may want to seek compensation for the resulting losses. However, assembling evidence of medical malpractice can be a demanding task. In these cases, it may be advisable to have the assistance of an attorney who has experience with this type of litigation.


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