Medical malpractice can have a huge negative impact on a surgeon's practice.
Here are 12 things to know about medical malpractice suits for orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons.
1. There are nearly 3.4 percent of neurosurgeons who are facing malpractice claims annually with a claim payment; there are around 18 percent who are facing any claim. This is the highest among all specialties, slightly higher than thoracic-cardiovascular surgeons, according to a RAND report.
2. There are around 4 percent of orthopedic surgeons who have malpractice claims annually with a claim payment; around 14 percent face any claim.
3. Neurosurgery malpractice payments reach a median average of $225,000. The mean average is around $325,000.
4. Orthopedic surgeons face a median average of nearly $100,000 malpractice payments. The mean average is around $225,000.
5. Most physicians can expect to face at least one malpractice claim in their 30-year career.
6. Around 88 percent of physicians in high-risk specialties report having a malpractice claim by the age of 45 years old. That number grows to 99 percent by 65 years of age.
7. Around 4 percent of the orthopedic surgery claims result in a payment.
8. The average defense costs for neurosurgical medical malpractice claims is $86,882, according to a study of 90 medical malpractice claims. For those that went to trial, the average cost was $182,734, according to a study published on Medical Malpractice Lawyers.
9. When patients file medical malpractice claims for neurosurgical services, most in the study were first treated in the neurosurgeon's office; only 9 percent initially involved a hospital consultation.
10. Among the 87 cases reported in the study, 62 patients had neurological deficits prior to surgery. Radiculopathy was the most common deficit.
11. Around 70 percent of the cases involved improperly performed surgeries. The second highest reason for the malpractice case was "failure to diagnose" which was alleged in 28 percent of the cases.
12. Most of the neurosurgical malpractice claims in the study were for elective surgery for degenerative spine disease with instrumentation.