Malpractice News Archive

No Correlation Between Malpractice Payments, High Medical Costs

Medical costs continue to rise even though records show that both the frequency of malpractice payments and the amounts paid out have dropped every single year for the past decade.

Family Billed $340K After Losing Malpractice Suit

A husband and wife were ordered to pay the money to cover a defendant hospital's legal fees, transportation expenses, and other costs.

Court Orders Recalculation of Malpractice Insurance Contributions

Medical associations claimed that from 2009 to 2011, their members were overcharged because state officials did not calculate assessments properly.

Physician Arrested, Charged with Perjury As Expert Witness

A surgeon told a jury that he was on staff at Barnes-Jewish Hospital without restrictions despite the fact that his surgical privileges had been revoked.

Campaign Begun to Lift California's Malpractice Cap

Non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases were capped at $250,000 in 1975, and it has not been raised since.

Jury Overrules Malpractice Panel, Awards $1.5 Million

Panel of a retired judge, a physician, and a lawyer had sided with the defendant physician, but a jury, after hearing all the evidence, found for the plaintiff.

Florida Attorneys Challenge Malpractice Law

Their lawsuits are based on a provision in the law that allows defense attorneys to obtain information about a plaintiff patient from subsequent healthcare providers.

Surgeon Removes Wrong Kidney from Patient

Surgeon Removes Wrong Kidney from Patient

A surgeon inadvertently removed the less-diseased kidney.

Florida Governor Signs Malpractice Bill Into Law

Medical experts who testify in medical malpractice cases will now need to be the same specialty as the physician who is the defendant in the case.

Malpractice Filings Drop in Pennsylvania

Medical malpractice filings declined from 1,675 in 2011 to 1,508 in 2012, a 10% decrease.

Maine Ranks No. 1 in Hospital Safety

Maine Ranks No. 1 in Hospital Safety

Some 80% of hospitals in the state scored an "A" rating from a national hospital watchdog organization.

Malpractice Award Caps May be Reinstated in Missouri

Malpractice Award Caps May be Reinstated in Missouri

The proposal puts a $350,000 limit on non-economic damages.

Florida Moves Toward Malpractice Reform

Florida Moves Toward Malpractice Reform

One proposed change would allow only physicians with the same specialty to act as expert witnesses.

Hospital Divulges Medical Errors to Improve Care

Hospital Divulges Medical Errors to Improve Care

Brigham and Women's Hospital reveals mistakes in a newsletter sent electronically to its 16,000 employees.

Medical Malpractice Mediation Bill Passes in Oregon

The legislation is expected to reduce lengthy, expensive lawsuits.

N.Y. Statute of Limitations Archaic, Deprives Patients

N.Y. Statute of Limitations Archaic, Deprives Patients

The state's statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the malpractice, not the date of the discovery of the malpractice.

Flaws in Patient Privacy, Data Security Must be Addressed

Flaws in Patient Privacy, Data Security Must be Addressed

Medical identity theft and data security breaches are growing and that thousands of cases are reported per year.

Doctors, Lawyers Support Oregon Malpractice Bill

Doctors, Lawyers Support Oregon Malpractice Bill

State senate proposes that the Oregon Patient Safety Commission be a forum for discussion and possible mediation of malpractice incidents.

Minnesota Error Reporting Sheds Light on Adverse Event Trends

Minnesota Error Reporting Sheds Light on Adverse Event Trends

There were fewer mistakes in 2012 regarding foreign objects left inside patients after surgery, pressure ulcers, and medication errors, but there were more injuries related to patient falls and suicides.

Proposed Georgia Bill Aims to Simplify Malpractice Cases

Proposed Georgia Bill Aims to Simplify Malpractice Cases

Malpractice cases would be treated more likely worker's compensation.

Wrestler Hulk Hogan Files $50 Million Malpractice Suit

Wrestler Hulk Hogan Files $50 Million Malpractice Suit

He is suing for what he alleges were multiple unnecessary endoscopic surgical procedures that destabilized his previously injured back.

Study Underscores Long Waits to Resolve Malpractice Claims

On average, a physician will spend more than 50 months with an open, unresolved malpractice claim.

Surgical 'Never Events' Occur At Least 4,000 Times Annually

Surgical 'Never Events' Occur At Least 4,000 Times Annually

Surgeons in the U.S. leave a foreign objects inside a patient after an operation 39 times a week, researchers estimate.

Physician Found Liable for Patient's Suicide

Physician Found Liable for Patient's Suicide

A physician continued prescribing antidepressant medication to a patient even though he had not seen that patient in his office for more than a decade.

Medical Errors Occur Despite Electronic Health Records

Dual workflow, using both paper-based and electronic records, seems to be particularly problematic, researchers say.

Physician Sued After Having an Affair with a Patient

Physician Sued After Having an Affair with a Patient

The jury awarded a woman $154,000 for past mental distress, $50,000 for future mental distress, $134,000 for past loss of income.

Safety Program Cuts Serious Errors by 70% in Wyoming Hospital

In 2009, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyo., instituted a safety program designed to reduce errors causing serious harm to patients.

Malpractice Screening Panels Upheld in New Hampshire

The case involved a woman who went to a New Hampshire emergency department complaining of back pain.

'Pay for Performance' Reduces Hospital Mortality in U.K.

Providing financial incentives is gaining in popularity, but little research has been done to ascertain whether this approach has the intended effect.

Supervisor Support Encourages Nurses to Admit Errors

Supervisor Support Encourages Nurses to Admit Errors

Researchers noted that their study results demonstrate "the importance of leadership in promoting a work environment in which employees feel it is safe to reveal performance errors."

Increased Medical Errors Linked to Chronic Conditions in Kids

Researchers speculate that children with chronic conditions stay in the hospital longer or require more complicated treatments.

Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Medical Malpractice Award Cap

Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Medical Malpractice Award Cap

The court held that the law, which was enacted in 1988, is still an adequate remedy despite the fact that the sum of money is not worth as much as it had been close to a quarter of a century earlier.

ICU Misdiagnoses May Cost Up to 40,500 Lives Per Year

In 8% of patients, the diagnostic error was serious enough that it may have caused or directly contributed to the patient's death.

Two Physicians Sue Patient for Malicious Prosecution

The patient had previously sued the doctors for something they did not do.

Kidney Slated for Transplant Is Accidentally Discarded

Two operating room nurses have been suspended from their jobs

Massachusetts Enacts New Malpractice Program

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick recently signed into law a healthcare cost containment bill estimated to save $200 billion.

Most Americans Worry About Medical Errors, Survey Finds

Most Americans Worry About Medical Errors, Survey Finds

A new survey revealed that almost a third of Americans reported experiencing (or having a friend or family member experience) a medical error.

Missouri State Court Strikes Down Malpractice Cap

Missouri State Court Strikes Down Malpractice Cap

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the current $350,000 limit on awards for pain and suffering was unconstitutional because it deprives patients of their right to a trial by jury.

Including Pictures in Electronic Medical Records Reduces Errors

Including Pictures in Electronic Medical Records Reduces Errors

One of the most common causes of medical error encountered in current electronic medical record (EMR) use is that a providers are placing incorrect orders in the patient's EMR.

$120 Million Awarded to Patient in NY Malpractice Lawsuit

$120 Million Awarded to Patient in NY Malpractice Lawsuit

A woman who suffered brain damage and permanent incapacitation after being treated at three New York area hospitals was awarded close to $120 million by a Bronx jury.

Physicians Win Most Malpractice Suits, But Battles are Lengthy

Most medical malpractice cases in the United States are dismissed before trial, but even so, cases often linger for months or years before dismissal.

Electronic Health Records May Prevent Lawsuits

Electronic Health Records May Prevent Lawsuits

A Massachusetts study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that a lower rate of malpractice claims is linked to the use of electronic health records.

Consumer Reports Issues Hospital Safety Ratings

Consumer Reports Issues Hospital Safety Ratings

For the first time, Consumer Reports magazine has rated hospitals for safety, and the results are somewhat alarming.

New Hampshire Passes Malpractice Reform Bill

New Hampshire Passes Malpractice Reform Bill

The New Hampshire legislature has overridden a veto by Gov. John Lynch and enacted a new, first-of-a-kind "early offer" program for dealing with medical malpractice claims.

Use of Interpreters in Emergency Department May Reduce Errors

Use of Interpreters in Emergency Department May Reduce Errors

Using professional translators for non-English speaking patients in the emergency department (ED) of hospitals may reduce miscommunications and errors, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Medical Malpractice Claims Level Off in Pennsylvania

Medical Malpractice Claims Level Off in Pennsylvania

After a six-year decline in the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits, a new report shows that claims have now slightly risen in Pennsylvania.

Massachusetts Health Care Systems Pilot Medical Liability Initiative

Massachusetts Health Care Systems Pilot Medical Liability Initiative

Studies have shown that when physicians apologize to patients for errors or unfortunate results, patients are less likely to sue and are more likely to have a more positive take on the event.

Former Airman Sues U.S. For Medical Malpractice

Former Airman Sues U.S. For Medical Malpractice

In the most recent challenge to the Feres Doctrine, a former airman who lost his legs because of a botched gallbladder surgery is suing the U.S. government, the Air Force, and the David Grant Medical Center for medical malpractice.

Surgical Catastrophes Haunt Anesthesiologists

Surgical Catastrophes Haunt Anesthesiologists

Results of a recent survey indicate that catastrophic medical errors can haunt practitioners for years, and in some cases, forever.

Six States Account for Over 50% of Malpractice Payouts

Diederich Healthcare, a medical malpractice insurance company, recently released an analysis of medical malpractice payments made in 2011, as recorded by the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Indemnity Payments Boost Malpractice Defense Costs

Defense costs for malpractice cases vary widely among practice specialties, but in all cases are higher for claims resulting in indemnity payments.

Actor James Woods Speaks Out in Support of Medical Apology Bill

The actor James Woods recently spoke to Rhode Island lawmakers in support of a bill that would allow physicians to apologize without fear.

Gaps in Data Exist in Ambulatory Patient Safety, AMA Says

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently released a report on patient safety in ambulatory care settings between the years 2000 and 2010 revealing a gap in research on the subject.

Patient Safety A Significant Issue at New York Area Hospitals

Consumer Reports recently published results of a study on patient safety in New York City area hospitals, and the findings were alarming.

Patient Compensation System Considered in Florida

Patient Compensation System Considered in Florida

Medical malpractice premiums in Dade County are perhaps the most expensive in the nation, forcing many clinicians to make dramatic choices when it comes to coverage.

Minnesota Medical Board Comes Under Scrutiny

Minnesota's Star Tribune newspaper recently published an investigative series profiling how the state Board of Medical Practice is mishandling complaints about physicians.

Arizona Senate Panel Votes to Curb 'Wrongful Birth' Suits

Arizona Senate Panel Votes to Curb 'Wrongful Birth' Suits

A Senate panel voted in favor of overturning an Arizona Supreme Court ruling that set precedent almost thirty years ago in "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" lawsuits.

Most Physicians Will Face a Malpractice Suit in Their Career

It is well known that medical malpractice suits are common, but very little data existed regarding which specialties are sued the most.

$9 Million Wyoming Malpractice Verdict Is Largest on Record

$9 Million Wyoming Malpractice Verdict Is Largest on Record

A jury recently found in favor of a plaintiff in a malpractice lawsuit, and awarded him and his wife a record-breaking $9 million in damages.

Malpractice Attorney Charged with Stealing From Clients

A New York attorney is being charged with stealing $70,000 from his medical malpractice clients, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.

Distracted Care Can Lead To Increase in Malpractice

Distracted Care Can Lead To Increase in Malpractice

While the innovation of such things as cell phones, iPads, social networking sites, and the Internet can often be a boon when it comes to gaining or sharing information on the go, they also can be a distraction to health care professionals.

Error Reporting Improves in Non-Punitive Setting

When health care practitioners are allowed to report medical errors anonymously in a non-punitive environment designed to improve patient safety, many more errors will be reported, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics.

Medical Errors in Indiana Hit Five-Year High

In January 2005, to increase awareness and create transparency, Indiana Governor Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. issued an executive order requiring the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a medical error reporting system. The Department of Health did so, and began collecting error reports from hospitals, ambulatory outpatient surgical centers, abortion clinics, and birthing centers starting in January 2006.

New York Program Speeds Malpractice Case Resolution

The medical malpractice process is time-consuming, costly, and exceedingly slow to reach a resolution. Numerous efforts have been made to address these issues over the years, including caps on damages and statutes of limitations, however, these changes have made little difference in the time and effort involved in these cases. Some light may be appearing on the horizon, however.

Electronic Health Records May Increase Malpractice Risk

Electronic Health Records May Increase Malpractice Risk

A recent report suggests that the rush to move to EHRs may result in inadequate EHR software, according to a white paper published by the AC Group, a Texas-based health information technology research and consulting firm.

National Practitioner Data Bank Closed to the Public

National Practitioner Data Bank Closed to the Public

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has shut down public access to its National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

Diagnosticians Face Higher Malpractice Suit Risk

Diagnosticians Face Higher Malpractice Suit Risk

Physicians who regularly order diagnostic tests for their patients may be at an increased risk of medical malpractice suits, according to a recent study.

Florida Supreme Count Gears Up for Malpractice Cap Challenge

Eight years after being enacted, Florida's $1 million cap on damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases is about to be challenged in the state's highest court.

Watchdog Group: California Not Disciplining Dangerous Docs

The watchdog group Public Citizen has alerted California Gov. Jerry Brown that the state's medical board has failed to take action against more than 700 health care providers that were disciplined for wrongdoing between September 1990 and the end of 2009.

Law Firm Loses Hard Drive With Patients' Medical Records

Law Firm Loses Hard Drive With Patients' Medical Records

How far does the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) extend? That is the question facing a large medical malpractice defense law firm.

Settlement Reached In Case Involving Doctor's Death

Settlement Reached In Case Involving Doctor's Death

A settlement has been reached in a medical malpractice case involving the 2009 death of a physician undergoing a controversial treatment for a rare disease.

Report: Malpractice Caps Fail to Cut Health Costs

Report: Malpractice Caps Fail to Cut Health Costs

Exorbitant pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, also known as non-economic damages, have been blamed for numerous evils, including high physician insurance rates in some states and increases in health care costs due to "defensive medicine" practices.

Pennsylvania Woman Awarded $23 Million in Malpractice Case

A jury in Lehigh County, Pa., awarded more than $23 million to a 55-year-old woman who lost her legs to infection while being cared for by a hospital nurse, according to a report in The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) newspaper.

N.C. Governor Vetoes Medical Malpractice Reform Bill

N.C. Governor Vetoes Medical Malpractice Reform Bill

In a stunning defeat for Republican legislators, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D- N.C.) vetoed Senate Bill 33, a medical malpractice reform bill that would have capped noneconomic damages at $500,000, regardless of injury.

Medical Error Risk Similar in Doctors' Offices, Hospitals

Medical Error Risk Similar in Doctors' Offices, Hospitals

Adverse medical events are almost as likely to happen in a physician's office as they are in a hospital setting, according to data from a recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

West Virginia Court Upholds Malpractice Damages Cap

West Virginia Court Upholds Malpractice Damages Cap

West Virginia has upheld a 2003 law capping damages for pain and suffering at $250,000 (or $500,000 in more serious cases), much to the delight of the state's medical association.

Juror in Malpractice Lawsuit Charged with Soliciting a Bribe

In a highly unusual twist to a medical malpractice lawsuit, a juror was arrested in the middle of a trial and accused with soliciting bribes to procure a plaintiff's verdict.

Malpractice Not More Likely with PAs, Most ED Docs Say

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants (PA) are increasingly being used in hospital emergency departments.

Malpractice Awards in 2010 Lowest on Record

Malpractice awards may be at an all time low in the United States, according to the consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen.

Supreme Court Mulls Challenge to Military Malpractice Shield

The United States Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case that would challenge the doctrine which prevents lawsuits against military medical personnel. The case involves an Air Force Staff Sergeant who was hospitalized for a routine appendectomy in 2003.

Florida Legislature Passes Medical Liability Reforms

Two new bills addressing malpractice reform issues have been passed by the Florida legislature and are currently awaiting the signature of Governor Rick Scott.

Doc Protests North Carolina Pain and Suffering Caps

A physician whose wife was disfigured in an operating room fire has issued a press release and a television ad protesting North Carolina Senate Bill 33, which limits the caps on pain and suffering regardless of whether they resulted in disfigurement, mutilation, loss of limb, paralysis, pain, suffering, blindness or death.

Proposed Nevada Bill Would Give Plaintiffs More Time

Lawmakers in Nevada are debating a proposed bill which would give plaintiffs (patients) additional time to file an expert witness affidavit required for medical malpractice lawsuits.

State Boards Not Acting Against 'Dangerous Doctors'

The watchdog group Public Citizen has released an analysis of data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) showing that state medical boards have failed to discipline 55% U.S. doctors who either lost their clinical privileges completely or had them restricted by the hospitals where they worked.

Michigan Legislature Mulls 'I'm Sorry' Bill

The Michigan Legislature has approved a bill that would allow doctors, nurses, and hospitals to express sympathy - but not admit fault - to injured patients and their families without the fear of their statements being used against them in a lawsuit.

Sleep Deprivation and Elective Surgery

A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine raises the issue of whether surgeons who become sleep deprived should notify patients who are having elective surgery so that patients can decide whether to postpone the procedure or request another physician.

After Four Years of Decline, Malpractice Suits Increase in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Insurance released its most recent report - Ohio 2009 Medical Professional Liability Closed Claim Report - which indicated that after four years of decline, malpractice suits are on the rise in the state.

Preventable Medical Errors Still Abound

It has been more than a decade since the publication of the Institute of Medicine's "To Err is Human," a report highlighting the fact that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries each year in the United States.

Medical Students Learn First Hand About Errors

Researchers have found that letting medical students observe first-hand how medical errors and near misses happen can be very instructive in preventing mistakes in their future practice.

New York Court Upholds $3 Million Pain and Suffering Award

It is not unusual for patients in medical malpractice cases to be awarded financial compensation for pain and suffering. What made this New York case different was the fact that the pain and suffering had taken place for a relatively short period of time: 11 months.

Interruptions in the Emergency Department Lead to Errors

Emergency department (ED) doctors spend less time directly caring for patients, and more time on indirect care; and frequent interruptions while working are a contributing factor to medical errors, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Indiana.

Docs Often Do Not Take Part in Mediation

Results of a recent study show that mediation can help to resolve malpractice suits more efficiently, but doctors and hospitals and their lawyers often resistant using it.

West Virginia Malpractice Award Caps Challenged

West Virginia's law capping medical malpractice damages is being challenged by a couple who were awarded over $1.5 million in damages in a medical malpractice case only to have the award reduced to a third because of the state's law.

Wrong-Site, Wrong-Patient Surgeries Found to Persist

Wrong-Site, Wrong-Patient Surgeries Found to Persist

Despite the institution of the Universal Protocol by the Joint Committee, which were designed to prevent wrong-site and wrong-patient surgeries, these errors are still taking place, according to a new study.

Illinois Malpractice Policies Drive Docs Out of the State

Illinois Malpractice Policies Drive Docs Out of the State

A study by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago has revealed that half of the graduating medical students or fellows trained in Illinois are leaving the state to practice medicine elsewhere, frequently in bordering states.

Florida Releases Positive Insurance Numbers

Florida Releases Positive Insurance Numbers

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has released its 2010 Annual Report on medical malpractice financial information.

Malpractice Payouts Dropping Steadily in Pennsylvania

Malpractice Payouts Dropping Steadily in Pennsylvania

In some good news for Pennsylvania physicians, Governor Ed Rendell announced that there has been a 61% decrease in medical malpractice fund payouts since 2003, meaning that liability insurance for physicians is dropping as well.

Claims Allege Placement of Unnecessary Stents

Claims Allege Placement of Unnecessary Stents

A Maryland Hospital and one of its cardiologists were hit with more than 100 complaints alleging that the cardiologist placed stents in the hearts of patients who did not need them.

Taking Responsiblity Found To Reduce Malpractice Suits

Taking Responsiblity Found To Reduce Malpractice Suits

A recently published study in Annals of Internal Medicine (2010;153:213-221) shows that taking responsibility for medical errors and apologizing to patients leads to fewer lawsuits.

Nevada Supreme Court To Reexamine Damage Caps

Nevada Supreme Court To Reexamine Damage Caps

Like Illinois and Georgia before it, the state Supreme Court of Nevada is being asked to decide whether limits on malpractice awards are constitutional.

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