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Lessons in liability: Examining medical malpractice suits against general surgeons in Maryland

Published:November 09, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2022.11.008

      Highlights

      • This study used a statewide judiciary database to quantify malpractice cases.
      • Male surgeons were more likely to be named in malpractice lawsuits.
      • A second graduate degree predicted more yearly malpractice cases.

      Abstract

      Background

      Although medical malpractice lawsuits pose a significant burden, there is a paucity of research on physician-specific characteristics influencing lawsuits against surgeons. Our objective was to identify factors associated with general surgeons being named in malpractice cases.

      Methods

      This was a cross sectional study of Maryland general surgeons, using malpractice data from a publicly accessible judiciary database. Case number per decade and lifetime lawsuit status were modeled with linear and logistic regression.

      Results

      Male surgeons had a higher average lawsuit volume (p = 0.002) and were more likely to be named in a malpractice case (p < 0.001). In regression analysis, a second graduate degree was a predictor of average cases per 10 years (p = 0.008) and male gender predicted lifetime lawsuit status (OR = 1.73, p = 0.046).

      Conclusions

      Male gender was associated with increased odds of being named in a malpractice lawsuit. Identifying this difference is a preliminary step in developing interventions to reduce lawsuits amongst surgeons.

      Keywords

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