Surgery is the second most common cause for medical malpractice claims against doctors, according to a new report issued by medical liability insurer Coverys.
After researching five years of closed claims, the insurer Coverys found that 25% of medical malpractice claims were surgery related, making surgery the second most common reason these claims are filed, Fierce Healthcare reports. The only claims with a higher percentage are diagnosis-related, at 32%, the report says.
Most of the surgery-related claims analyzed in the report were related to practitioner performance during the surgery itself, but all phases of the surgical process have led to malpractice claims.
The report says general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and neurosurgery are the top surgical specialties to trigger claims. Together, they make up nearly 50% of all surgery-related claims.
Of the claims analyzed, 29% were filed after surgical injuries that were considered “permanent significant,” and 9% resulted in patient deaths.
Most of the claims, 39%, alleged that the surgeon lacked technical skills. Another 27% alleged that doctors had failed to communicate or to judge needs correctly.
Most claims alleged poor practitioner performance, but other problems that were cited are as follows:
The authors of the Coverys’ report reminded readers that the surgical process isn’t always perfect. Their report offers recommendations to surgeons about ways to improve outcomes, including:
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