Malpractice and the Trainee Physician

Malpractice In this interesting case-control study of closed malpractice claims, investigators evaluated five years of data from 32 teaching hospitals.  Cases (n = 581) were claims made regarding a harm event in which a resident or fellow was directly involved.  Controls (n = 2,610) were claims made from the same facilities in which a trainee was not directly involved in the harm event, although they may have been involved in the patient’s care.  A majority of claims among both cases (71%) and controls (58%) were related to procedures, with a statistically significant higher percentage among the cases as compared with the controls.  Tellingly, “inadequate supervision” was listed as a contributing factor in 24% of the cases and only 1% of controls.  Other contributing factors more commonly cited in the cases than in the controls were failure to reconcile relevant information and poor communication among providers.  Interestingly, after multivariable analysis, cases and controls did not differ by July admission status or weekend admission status.   The specialties of obstetrics-gynecology and oral surgery/dental medicine were over-represented among the cases.  Based on this data, program directors may want to pay particular attention to assuring adequate supervision during trainee procedures. — Laura Willett, MD

Myers LC, Gartland RM, Skillings J, Heard L, Bittner EA, Einbinder J, Metlay JP, Mort E., An Examination of Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Physician Trainees. Acad Med. 2019

Link To Article

 

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