Since we started the Allegiant Experts Blog, we have shed a lot of unflattering light on the epidemic that is medical misconduct in the United States. Surely, this is not an issue that is exclusive to our great nation. However, considering how heralded American healthcare providers are, it stands to reason that there should be great concern about the many cases that have been filed against various practitioners for malpractice.
Over the past several months, our many blogs have highlighted the fact that medical misconduct is something that – sadly – occurs in all areas of medicine. But is there any one area of the medical world where medical misconduct is most prevalent? A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, published in the January 2017 edition of the British Dental Journal attempts to answer that question. As reported by Jeannette Y. Wick of the New Jersey-based Special Pharmacy Times, cases involving dentists seem to be on the rise.
She notes that the study “found an increase in the number of malpractice payments against dentists over an 11-year period. The study reports a simultaneous decrease in that of non-dentist health care professionals as well, and provides more specific details about malpractice suits filed against pharmacists.” The dental industry as a whole, however, should not be looked upon poorly. The study found that suits against dental hygienists are low in comparison to dentists.
As Wick explains, although the research team found a 13.5% reduction in malpractice payments against dentists and dental hygienists between 2004 and 2014, approximately 11% of all malpractice suits are now filed against dentists. Meanwhile, during the same time span, there was a 38.5% reduction in malpractice payments for non-dental healthcare professionals.
Optometrists, pharmacists, physician assistants, podiatrists, and mental health professionals were all found to be medical professions that have low rates of medical malpractice claims against them. Pharmacists came out as the study’s big winners, notes Wick. They are among the least likely medical professionals to have medical malpractice cases brought against them.
“Disgruntled patients filed 78 malpractice suits against pharmacists in 2004,” she reports, “The number of cases peaked at 95 in 2009, and then fell sharply over the next few years. In 2014, patients filed 52 lawsuits against pharmacists. The year 2009 was a peak or near-peak year for psychologists and physicians, too.” According to the researchers, there is no clear indication as to why medical malpractice claims have dropped for pharmacists.
Wick explains, however, that the University of Michigan researchers looked into the reasons for the increase in medical malpractice cases against dentists. “They concluded that it could be attributed to more dentists remaining in solo practice or in small offices in comparison to other professions,” she writes, “Research has shown that larger hospitals and health care organizations typically produce better patient outcomes due to increased structure, best practices guidelines, and more resources to deliver cutting-edge health care.”
At Allegiant Experts, our team of clinical experts has a lot of experience assisting attorneys who represent patients who have suffered due to medical malpractice. If you are an attorney who is trying a medical malpractice case and have any questions about how our services can assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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