Forbes Magazine reports that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States. In 2012 (most current available data), over $3 billion was awarded in medical malpractice payoffs. And it’s not just doctors who can get sued either. Anyone who provides healthcare services (nurses, phlebotomists, anesthesiologists, etc) can get hit with a lawsuit from an unhappy patient.
Now in some instances there are cases that deserve to be heard out in court, but not every case. Not all patients heed their doctor’s advice, and when things go wrong with their health they are much more willing to blame the health industry than themselves. If you run a private practice, you’re going to want to have professional liability insurance coverage, and here’s why.
Professional Calamities: Malpractice Suits
CBS News found that Americans file over 17,000 medical malpractice lawsuits a year. In a study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine, these are the top-10 most sued medical professionals in the United States:
1. Neurosurgeons: Specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the nervous system.
2. Thoracic-cardiovascular surgeons: Specialize in executing medical procedures to do with the esophagus, lungs, heart and other organs in the chest cavity.
3. General surgeons: Specialize in executing medical procedures to do with stomach, small bowel, pancreas and other abdominal innards.
4. Orthopedic surgeons: Specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and surgical procedures of diseases of the foot and musculoskeletal system.
5. Plastic surgeons: Specialize in providing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
6. Gastroenterologists: Specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the biliary system.
7. Obstetrician/Gynecologists: Specialize in women’s and prenatal health.
8. Urologists: Specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders in the urinary system.
9. Pulmonologists: Specialize in diagnosing and treating lung conditions and diseases.
10. Oncologists: Specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Over half of all physicians in the U.S. work in private practice, and without a large hospital’s legal team to defend them, they could lose everything in a malpractice suit, but not with medical professional liability insurance coverage.
A Reputation Soiled
If it is learned or believed that the advice you offered a patient was incorrect and as result they suffered emotional and/or physical duress, they have the right to take you to court for malpractice. It won’t only be money up for grabs in a malpractice suit, but your private practice’s reputation, too. When it has been revealed to the public that you are facing a malpractice suit or have faced one in the past, your reputation will take a hit. Consider the once Republican presidential-primary hopeful, Dr. Ben Carson. When it was learned that he had more than a few malpractice lawsuits in his history as a practicing neurosurgeon, the public began to discredit his arguments and found him to be less knowledgeable on the whole. It was the public’s opinion that a good neurosurgeon wouldn’t have a lawsuit filed against him, so was Ben Carson really any good?
Public opinion can make or break a business, so can money. Protect yourself with professional liability insurance coverage with CoverHound