Our Blogs

New Study Highlights Common Orthopedic Surgery Errors in the United States

Written by Berkowitz

Orthopedic Surgery ErrorsA study conducted on medical malpractice claims against orthopedic surgeons found that there were similarities among those disgruntled with their provider. The report also identified a few factors that contributed to the patient’s injuries.

The original study was commissioned by The Doctors Company – a physician-owned malpractice insurer. The company retained its own panel of physicians in order to review over 1,800 malpractice claims filed against orthopedic specialists between 2007 and 2014, as well as any resolved in that same timeframe.

What the Study Revealed

One part of the study was to analyze any allegations made by patients in the claims. They found that there were three types of claims that accounted for 75 percent of the total volume of cases. These three included:

  • Improper performance of the surgery – 46 percent of the total claims,
  • Improper management of patient’s post-surgery – 16 percent of the total claims, and
  • Claims alleging incorrect diagnosis or failure to make a diagnosis – 13 percent of claims.

In another portion of the study, the physicians examined the same claims to identify what factors contributed to the patient’s injuries, and to help identify where doctors would improve in the future. Form that study, physicians found certain factors that contributed toward the injuries:

  1. The technical performance of the orthopedic surgeon. This was found in 35 percent of the injury claims.
  2. Selection and management of therapies. This was found in 12 percent of injury claims. These included cases where the doctor failed to order the right medication or ordered improper prescriptions for the patient.
  3. Communication issues between patient and doctor. This caused injury in 12 percent of claims and involved inadequate communication, including informed consent for surgical and other orthopedic treatments and procedures. It also included inadequate hospital discharge instructions by medical personnel, inadequate follow-up instructions and insufficient information about the risks of any medications prescribed to the patient.
  4. Patient assessment issues. There were also 12 percent of cases that had assessment issues. These involved a significant delay in diagnostic testing or failure to diagnose, failure to establish a differential diagnosis based on the patient’s symptoms, misinterpretations of the diagnostic tests, and failure to consider all information before coming to a conclusion.

Recourse for Surgical Patients Injured

If you or a loved one suffered from an injury caused by an orthopedic surgeon or other medical professional, you may qualify for compensation. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call (203) 487-5716 or contact us online to get started.