The best indicator of whether a physician is likely to have a malpractice claim made against him—yes, they are disproportionately male—appears to be whether a previous claim has ever been made. In fact, researchers at Stanford report that 1% of doctors are linked to nearly 33% of all paid General surgeons are among the doctors most likely to be the subjects of paid malpractice claims. Further, that group appears to share some distinct characteristics. In addition to being male (which applies to 82%), the data show that claim-prone physicians tend to be older and practice internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, and general practice/family medicine. And the likelihood of future claims goes up with each previous claim in the history. For example, a physician with three previous claims is three times more likely to be the subject of an additional claim than a physician with just one previous claim. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, takes into account more than 66,000 malpractice claims paid against 54,000 physicians in the U.S. between 2005 and 2014. Overall, just 6% of the subjects had any paid claims over the study period.
Malpractice Magnets—and How to See Them Coming