Medical liability: By late career, 61% of doctors have been sued

AMA News
Monday, August 16, 2010

Six out of 10 physicians 55 and older have been sued, according to a new American Medical
Association study.
Male doctors are twice as likely as their female counterparts to get sued during their career. And
more physicians in solo and specialty practices are sued than those in multispecialty practices.

"Their data, as well as other studies, show that a small percentage of physicians are responsible
for the vast majority of malpractice claims," according to a statement by Ray De Lorenzi,
spokesman for the American Assn. for Justice, which represents trial lawyers. …
"This reinforces why lawmakers must focus on the 98,000 people that die every year from
preventable medical errors, not eliminating the rights of injured patients," he said. That figure
was popularized by a 1999 Institute of Medicine report, which cited research stating that such
medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 people each year.
Tort reform critic Joanne Doroshow, founder and executive director of the Center for Justice
and Democracy, said damage caps and many of the demonstration projects infringe on patients'
rights. Instead, she recommends a change in statute of limitation laws to allow individuals to be
brought into a lawsuit after the initial filing if they are discovered to have been responsible.
"That would be responsible for dropping a number of claims against physicians," Doroshow said.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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