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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Are Doctors Legal Targets?

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It’s a survey that the AMA posed to their members:

AMA surveyed 5,825 physicians from the 2007-2008 Physician Practice Information (PPI) survey, which is used to update the practice cost data to develop practice expense relative value units (RVUs) for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The measure of malpractice claims was determined by survey questions that asked doctors about the number of claims filed against them in their career and over the previous year; the survey did not ask about the outcome of those claims.

Now let’s start with the point that the survey had to be a little self serving. Just for the fun of it, if they had surveyed each of the lawyers for those cases, I would guess the findings would have been very high for opinions that all of the claims were meritorious.

My fellow InjuryBoard blogger pointed out another finding:

ABC News Reports Most Doctors Will Face Only One Lawsuit During Career, Christopher Nace | August 06, 2010 10:51 AM

I found it interesting that the findings included;

only about 5 percent of physicians are sued in any given year

That really doesn’t sound like a lot. Nor does it supports conclusions of "clogged dockets in New York" , "Doctors all running out of state" or my favorite " the need for caps"

I think it may point to the facts that there really aren’t that many suits. Doctors are no more the target of claims than anyone else. Claims come from negligent actions that cause damage. Do cases get lost or dropped? Sure, just like with any other claim. There really is no problem to solve. Here in Minnesota, we know that’s the case.