A new study by Indiana University researchers says pediatricians rarely lose medical malpractice lawsuits.
Despite concerns about the increase in lawsuits, the study found that claims against pediatricians have remained stable across two decades. Additionally, these types of cases tend not to make it to trial.
Sixty-eight percent of the cases brought against pediatricians in the last two decades were either dismissed or withdrawn without payment, according to the study. Approximately twenty-seven percent were settled for the plaintiff and five percent of claims went to trial and four out of five verdicts favored the pediatrician, the study found.
“What was most surprising to us and should be of some comfort to doctors is that . . . the majority of cases just go away with no payment made whatsoever,” said Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and a co-author of the report.
“As a pediatrician, I don’t want to minimize the fact that every case is traumatic for doctors, but our data show that the reality is probably less serious than people have been led to believe,” he said.
The study reviewed data from 1985 to 2005 from the Insurer Association of America, whom represents approximately one third of all malpractice claims throughout the United States. During that time, there were 6,363 claims against pediatricians.
This study is one of the first to accurately display what is happening with pediatrics and malpractice.