"Just one out of every 100 U.S. doctors is responsible for 32 percent of the malpractice claims that result in payments to patients, according to a comprehensive study of 15 years’ worth of cases.
And when a doctor has to pay out one claim, the chances are good that the same physician will soon be paying out on another, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"I think people will be surprised about the extent to which the claims are concentrated within a relatively small group of practitioners. It's actually more concentrated than in earlier studies," chief author David Studdert of Stanford University in California told Reuters Health.
The result, he said, demonstrates that there are practitioners who can accumulate large numbers of claims and continue to practice.
Earlier studies looked at malpractice claims that may or may not have had merit. This study looked at all cases in the National Practitioner Data Bank where payments were made.
Those other studies typically focused on a single insurer or a single state, and repeat offenders may have been able to avoid being tracked, by moving or switching insurers, Studdert said. "We have a kind of national all-encompassing window, so we should have been able to track the doctors wherever they go.""
Read more at Reuters