An Epidemiologic Study of Closed Emergency Department Malpractice Claims in a National Database of Physician Malpractice Insurers
Acad Emerg Med. 2010 May;17(5):553-60.
All closed malpractice claims in the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA) database between 1985 and 2007, where an event in an ED was alleged to have caused injury to a patient 18 years of age or older.
- Total identified 11,529 claims arising from an event originating in an ED, representing over $664 million in total liability over the 23-year study period.
- Emergency physicians were the primary defendants in 19% of ED claims. The largest sources of error, as identified by the individual malpractice insurer, included errors in diagnosis (37%), followed by improper performance of a procedure (17%).
- In 18% of claims, no error could be identified by the insurer.
- AMI (5%), fractures (6%), and appendicitis (2%) were the health conditions associated with the highest number of claims.
- 70% closed without payment to the claimant.
- Only 7% of claims were resolved by verdict, and 85% of those were in favor of the clinician.