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Which specialties are least / most likely to be sued (unfairly)?

glee123

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Sep 3, 2019
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My current impression is on the high end, OBGYN, gen. surgery, vascular, ortho, neurosurg; on the low end, FM, psychiatry, PMR, anesthesia (?), pediatrics (?). Am I missing or incorrect about anything?

As another question, do academic physicians generally get sued less than their private practice counterparts?
 
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As a general rule things that are more procedural have more room for accidents to happen and people to get sued. Another high-litigation specialty not on your list but worth adding is Emergency Medicine. The nature of their job is to pick out people having medical emergencies from things that can be sent home and dealt with outpatient. Emergency physicians can get sued when people pass away soon after being discharged from the emergency department when it turns out something serious and life-ending was missed.
 
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gonnif

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Lawsuits common for surgeons, survey finds: 10 most-sued specialties
More than half of physicians face a lawsuit at some point in their career, but only a small fraction of suits that go to trial result in a decision against the physician, according to the Medscape Medical Malpractice Report 2019.

Medscape surveyed 4,360 physicians across 29-plus specialties to determine the top 10 specialties for lawsuits.

The percent of physicians in each specialty that have faced lawsuits:

1. General surgery: 85 percent
2. Urology: 84 percent
3. ENT: 83 percent
4. OB-GYN and women's health: 83 percent
5. Specialized surgery: 80 percent
6. Radiology: 76 percent
7. Emergency medicine: 76 percent
8. Cardiology: 65 percent
9. Gastroenterology: 63 percent
10. Anesthesiology: 62 percent
 
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gonnif

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Lowest: forensic pathology
While there is evidence they are sued at a lower rate, they lose the lawsuits at a higher rate than other specialties

Medical Malpractice Study Reveals that Pathologists Are at Greater Risk than Other Specialists for Claims and Lawsuits | Dark Daily
Frequency with which litigated malpractice claims were dismissed by courts, according to specialty:
  • Suits against internists and internal medicine – 61.5% dismissed
  • Average across all specialties – 54.1% dismissed
  • Pathologists – 36.5% dismissed
 

LizzyM

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I think that the forensic pathologists are a subset that are likely to be sued and unlikely to have judgements against them. On the other hand, missing a cancer diagnosis is one of the most common reasons for suing general internists and might be one of the top reasons for suing family medicine docs, too. That's where pathologists are likely to have the most trouble winning a malpractice suit.
 
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