Physicians in the United States can expect at least one medical malpractice claim during their careers, a new study has shown.
Researchers were led by Anupam Jena, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study was published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study looked at 41,000 doctors from 1991 to 2005, CBS News reported. The results showed that most doctors and practically every surgeon will receive at least one malpractice claim.
If you consider a doctor who is 30 years old and just starting a career and in a high-risk specialty, there is about a 100 percent chance that by the age of 65 he will have faced a claim, Jena said, ABC News reported.
But while the risk for being sued is high, approximately 80 percent of the cases do not result in monetary compensation, the study shows.
Still, the fear of being sued is quite prevalent in the medical profession.
According to the study, average malpractice payments ranged from $117,832 for dermatologists to $520,923 for pediatrics during the study period. Pediatrics, for that matter, also paid higher claims than other doctors- $520,000 rather than the average $275,000.
There is also the emotional aspect, says study co-author Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
They hate having their name dragged through the local newspaper, Chandra said, CBS reported.