OB-GYNs and Surgeons are Most Likely to Be Sued

Posted March 1, 2016 by Stacy Bolzenius

OB-GYNs and Surgeons are Most Likely to Be Sued

Malpractice lawsuits can cost OB-GYN practitioners a considerable amount of money and damage their reputation. Unfortunately, women’s health professionals are among the top medical professionals involved in these types of lawsuits.

Statistics on Malpractice Lawsuits

A recent survey conducted by Medscape found that 59 percent of more than 4,000 primary-care physicians in the U.S. have been involved in one or more malpractice lawsuits during the course of their career. Close to one-third of these were due to accusations of inaccurate diagnoses, while one-third were associated with injuries received while being treated. Other reasons for these lawsuits included a failure to treat, poor documentation on patient care instructions, and medication administration errors.

Among primary-care physicians, women’s health professionals, including gynecologists, surgeons and obstetricians, had the highest risk of being sued. The survey found that 85 percent of OB-GYN and women’s health practitioners and 83 percent of surgeons have been involved in malpractice lawsuits. For obstetricians, one of the main reasons for higher lawsuit risks is believed to be associated with an increase in recommending or performing C-sections that are not medically necessary for healthy pregnant women. Other findings indicated that older physicians and male physicians have a higher risk of being sued.

Malpractice Prevention

Women’s health practitioners can take steps toward reducing their risk of being involved in a malpractice lawsuit in the following ways:

Improving operating room efficiency. OB-GYN surgeons can significantly lower the risk of lawsuits by adopting measures that improve efficiency in the operating room. These include ensuring that surgical staff have what they need in the room in order to reduce the number of times that doors are opened. Opening operating room doors reduces the ability of ventilation systems to keep airborne contaminants out, which increases patients’ risks of infection.

Among primary-care physicians, women's health professionals had the highest risk of being sued.

Staying up-to-date with training and education. Doctors can lower the risk of making costly errors by staying up-to-date on education and training. Taking the OB-GYN board review and participating in continuing education classes helps ensure that doctors are knowledgeable about advancements in the field and are aware of findings on potential dangers or risks associated with certain types of treatments.

Supporting malpractice lawsuit screenings. Eighty-one percent of survey respondents stated that having malpractice lawsuit cases prescreened by medical panels would significantly reduce the number of lawsuits that make it to court. This would help cut down on frivolous lawsuits against medical professionals.

OB-GYN Boards

Getting ready for next year’s OB-GYN board review? Looking for ways to earn CME credit? Give us a call today for more information! Perinatal Resources holds the longest running and most comprehensive OB/GYN CME board prep conferences in the country. Whether you’re studying for the boards or just want an opportunity to review your knowledge in the field, our conferences are a great resource to you.