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Babies who are less than a month old account for the highest dollar amount of medical malpractice claims paid, says a survey issued by an insurer Wednesday.
A survey of 1,215 claims filed on behalf of pediatric patients that closed from 2008 through 2017 found that 37% resulted in a payment to the claimant, with the highest amounts paid for neonates, who are patients less than a month old, according to a report issued by The Doctors Co.
The report by the Napa, California-based insurer, which surveyed claims filed against physicians working in 52 specialties and subspecialties, said the median indemnity payment was $250,000 and the mean expense paid was $99,984.
A review by age group showed the median indemnity paid for neonates was $300,000, while the median expense paid was $119,311; for patients 1 month to 11 months old, the median indemnity was $200,000 and the median expense paid was $117,882; for children 1 to 9 years old, the median indemnity was also $200,000 and the median expense was $94,174; and for teenagers, the median indemnity was $162,500 and the median expense was $83,205.
The most common allegation for neonates was obstetrics-related treatment, and was diagnostic related for the remaining age groups.
The survey found that 76.7% of the claims were filed within three years of the event, while 3% were filed more than 10 years after the injury. “This highlights the importance of quality documentation. Years after the alleged harm, it is still a factor in defending claims,” said the survey.
Medical liability insurer Coverys said in a report issued in February that diagnostic errors were the leading type of claims against primary care physicians from 2013 through 2017.
The overall medical malpractice insurance market has been soft, but it is showing some signs of hardening, say experts.