Surgery is the second most common cause for medical malpractice claims against doctors, according to a new report issued by medical liability insurer Coverys.
Coverys Report Findings
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:
- Leaving a foreign body (7%)
- Performing an unnecessary procedure (4%)
- Operating on the wrong side/site/patient (3%)
- Delaying the surgery (3%)
Ways Surgeons Can Improve Outcome Success
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:
- Ensuring a patient’s participation and understanding
- Documenting consent discussions and patients’ responses in their medical records.
- Establishing a distraction-free environment in the operating room.
- Adopting the so-called “sterile cockpit”—a regulation used in aviation that prohibits crew members from performing non-essential duties during high-risk activities.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a medical error, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our firm has a proven track record of winning large cases for severely injured clients for more than 25 years. Thomas J. Henry has the experienced medical malpractice lawyers and the legal and financial resources necessary to properly develop your case. Our dedication and determination is reflected in the record-breaking results we have helped our clients achieve.
Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free case review — attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.