High-Spending Doctors Get Sued Less Often
The practice of “defensive medicine,” may actually help doctors keep from getting sued for malpractice, according to research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
The researchers found that between 2000 and 2009, doctors in Florida who provided the most costly care as a result of extra tests, multiple consultations, more dramatic procedures–were the least likely to be sued.
Overall, the study analyzed data on nearly 25,000 doctors who oversaw about 18.3 million hospital admissions and faced more than 4,300 malpractice claims.
The researchers found that an internist whose average hospitalization of a patient cost about $20,000 (the lowest spending group) faced a 1.2 percent probability of being sued the following year. That compared to a 0.3 percent probability of being sued if the internist’s average hospitalization cost about $39,000 (the highest spending group).
The research also discovered a lower probability of facing a lawsuit among obstetricians following a year in which they performed a high number of cesarean sections, which critics say are often done defensively.