Paid physician malpractice claims for adverse events in 2009 (from Bishop, Ryan & Casalino in this week’s JAMA):
By way of comparison (my calculations):
|Number of US hospitals||5,795||<1 per hospital/year|
|Number of admissions||37,479,709||0.00014/admission|
|Number of US physicians||661,400||0.01624/physician/year|
|Medical error deaths(preventable, IOM)||44,000||4.1 deaths/paid claim|
|98,000||9.1 deaths/paid claim|
4.1 to 9.1 deaths per paid claim has strong implications for medical apology laws (now proposed in MA). Studdert, Mello, Gawande, Brennan and Wang (health policy All-Stars) raised this question in Health Affairs back in 2007. The key assumption is to what extent apologies will prompt litigation from patients who don’t sue today.