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How often do pediatricians get sued for malpractice and why?

The American Medical Association (AMA) administered its Physician Practice Benchmark Survey to 3,500 doctors in 2016. At least 34% of the respondents reported having been sued for malpractice before.

More than half of those physicians had been sued more than once. The results revealed that older doctors were more vulnerable to getting sued than younger ones. It also showed that physicians working in certain specialties were more apt to have a lawsuit filed against them than others. Pediatricians were one of the more commonly sued doctors.

AMA's data revealed that obstetricians and gynecologists (Ob-Gyn) and surgeons have the highest lawsuit risk at 63%. Their chance of being sued a second time is 44% and 50% respectively. A pediatrician's chances of having a malpractice lawsuit filed against them are relatively small in comparison to that of Ob-Gyn's and surgeons. It hovers at around 17.8%. The chances that a pediatrician will be sued a second time is 6%.

The most common reason that pediatricians are sued is due to them making medical errors. Some misdiagnose their patients and others poorly manage a child's medical care.

Physician Insurers Association of America data reveals that there were medical conditions that were more commonly misdiagnosed over others between the years of 1985 and 2006. Those conditions included meningitis, pneumonia, brain damage, nonteratogenic anomalies and appendicitis.

AMA's research has shown that doctors who educate their young patients and their parents about expectations are sued less often than others. Those doctors who take time to see if their patients have any questions, inject humor into conversations and thorough in addressing their patients' concerns are less apt to be sued as well.

One of the clearest signs that a doctor has made a mistake in diagnosing a patient is that their health declines. Errors often happen when doctors fail to follow the appropriate protocol to ask the right questions and rule out potential diagnoses. You shouldn't let your Augusta doctor get away with making such mistakes. You should instead consult with a medical malpractice attorney who can hold your physician accountable so that they don't inflict undue harm on any other patients here in Georgia.

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