Earlier this week, our Chicago medical malpractice law blog discussed some of the interesting findings a group of researchers discovered while analyzing data of surgical malpractice claims. Researchers concluded that although malpractice claims involving surgical errors have decreased over the years, injuries resulting from errors made before, during or after a surgery are amounting to greater payouts for damages. Payouts for damages resulting from surgical errors also tend to be higher in Illinois compared to other states.
Researchers analyzed more than 58,000 claims that were reported between 1990 and 2006 from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Almost 20 percent of the claims resulted in minor permanent injuries, more than 15 percent of the claims analyzed resulted in death and more than 8 percent of the claims resulted in major permanent injuries from a surgical error. More than 60 percent of the claims involved a female patient.
According to the analysis, the most common injuries patients suffered in cases that resulted in payouts exceeding $1 million were: paralysis, brain damage, death and other permanent injuries that required an individual to obtain life-long care. Researchers also determined that claims involving a patient who was under the age of 10 or over the age of 70 were more likely to result in higher payouts.
When a medical professional does make a mistake before, during or after surgery, the results can be devastating, forever changing the lives of those injured and their family members. Although some victims of serious surgical errors may find a bit of relief from recovering damages for past and future medical expenses, they are still forced to face the reality that they might never physically or emotionally recover from a medical professional’s mistake.
Source: Medscape News, “Surgical Malpractice Claims Drop, But Pay-Outs Increase,” Carol Helwick, Nov. 14 2011