Background: Medical malpractice has become a rising concern for physicians, affecting the cost and delivery of health care. Colorectal procedures account for 24% of all general surgery cases, a high-risk specialty, with 15% of its physicians facing malpractice suit annually.
Methods: The Westlaw legal database was used to identify colorectal malpractice cases.
Results: In all, 122 of 230 lawsuits were included in this study. A majority of 65.6% were physician verdicts, 19.7% plaintiff verdicts, and 14.8% reached a settlement. Plaintiff payments were found to be significantly higher than settlement awards. The most common cause of alleged malpractice was failure to recognize a complication in a timely manner (45.1%), followed by damage to surrounding tissues (36.1%).
Conclusions: The most common cause of alleged malpractice was failure to recognize a complication in a timely manner, followed by damage to surrounding tissue. Plaintiff awards were significantly higher than settlement payments. It is important to understand the mechanism of malpractice allegations to better prevent litigation and improve patient care.
Keywords: Defendant; Litigation; Malpractice; Plaintiff.
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