13 Feb Georgetown Study Finds Medical Malpractice Is Not Random
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David A. Hyman, JD, MD
The Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Health Law & Policy
Georgetown University Law Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Many doctors believe medical malpractice claiming is effectively random — meaning good doctors are equally likely as bad doctors to end up being the target of a malpractice claim. Past research has studied whether physicians with 2 paid claims are likely to have another claim than doctors with 1 paid claim.
We study whether physicians with 1 paid claim are more likely to have another paid claim, compared to physicians with zero paid claims. We also compare the pattern of observed claims with what we would expect to find if claiming were truly random (by running a simulation).
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Physicians with a single paid claim are 4x as likely to have a future claim than physicians with zero paid claims. We find a similar pattern in both high-risk and lower-risk specialties. We also find no evidence that public disclosure of paid claims has any impact on these patterns — meaning there is no “blood in the water” effect.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Medical malpractice is not random.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: We suggest further research on how to intervene with physicians to prevent future claims and harm to patients.
Hyman DA, Lerner J, Magid DJ, Black B. Association of Past and Future Paid Medical Malpractice Claims. JAMA Health Forum. 2023;4(2):e225436. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2022.5436
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