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Title: Medical Malpractice Claims in Radiation Oncology: A Population-Based Study 1985-2012

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine trends in radiation oncology malpractice claims and expenses during the last 28 years and to compare radiation oncology malpractice claims to those of other specialties. Methods and Materials: We performed a retrospective analysis of closed malpractice claims filed from 1985 to 2012, collected by a nationwide medical liability insurance trade association. We analyzed characteristics and trends among closed claims, indemnity payments (payments to plaintiff), and litigation expenses. We also compared radiation oncology malpractice claims to those of 21 other medical specialties. Time series dollar amounts were adjusted for inflation (2012 was the index year). Results: There were 1517 closed claims involving radiation oncology, of which 342 (22.5%) were paid. Average and median indemnity payments were $276,792 and $122,500, respectively, ranking fifth and eighth, respectively, among the 22 specialty groups. Linear regression modeling of time trends showed decreasing total numbers of claims (β = −1.96 annually, P=.003), increasing average litigation expenses paid (β = +$1472 annually, P≤.001), and no significant changes in average indemnity payments (β = −$681, P=.89). Conclusions: Medical professional liability claims filed against radiation oncologists are not common and have declined in recent years. However, indemnity payments in radiation oncology are large relative to those ofmore » many other specialties. In recent years, the average indemnity payment has been stable, whereas litigation expenses have increased.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California (United States)
  2. Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (United States)
  3. School of Law, University of San Diego, San Diego, California (United States)
  4. Department of Radiation Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22458770
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics; Journal Volume: 93; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2015 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; INSURANCE; LAWSUITS; LIABILITIES; MEDICAL PERSONNEL; POPULATIONS; RADIOTHERAPY