No escape: Most doctors get sued for malpractice sooner or later 

WHAT: A Harvard study of 1991-2005 data on nearly 41,000 physicians found that 99 percent of doctors in “high-risk” specialties faced a malpractice lawsuit by the time they were 65. For “low-risk” fields, claims still got filed against 75 percent of doctors.

WHAT THIS DOES: Only about 1 in 5 malpractice cases led to any monetary payment. But the threat of being sued created a “tangible fear” that pressured doctors to practice costly “defensive medicine” — ordering extra tests and procedures to shield themselves.

WHY IT’S OUTRAGEOUS: Defensive medicine is widely blamed for the rapidly rising cost of U.S. health care. Yet medical malpractice reform was largely ignored in negotiating the new federal health care overhaul.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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