I got mail from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) today. I get a lot of mail from them. Together we are responsible for much deforestation. For example, I would be happy NOT to get a print version of the Green Journal as they promptly go into a pile from whence they will never return. I read the articles I want on line.
But I digress.
Today’s mail was different. A puffy package with the bubble wrap. A press package. Yes, that’s right, according to ACOG I am now a journalist (see the Dear Journalist picture for proof).
The press package had a nifty little book with 2011 stats and facts for women’s health. I flipped through it and was stunned at the malpractice information. We talk about the ever increasing rate of c-sections (31% of deliveries!!!) and all the different reason why this happens. Tort reform is always tossed around, but no one ever seems to do anything about it (maybe because Washington is run by, I don’t know, LAWYERS?).
So here are the sad stats. Truly, I was blown away.
- > 90% of OB/GYNs have been sued at least once during their career
- The average number of times an OB/GYN is sued is 2.7
- 30.5% of obstetrics claims involve a neurologically impaired infant and 49% of these claims are lost (meaning money was paid). FYI, losing a claim does not necessarily mean anything was done incorrectly.
- 63% of OB/GYNs change their practice in some way because of risk of fear of litigation
And for those of you wondering about the specific effect of malpractice on c-sections…in 2009:
- 26% of OB/GYNs stopped offering/performing VBACs because of malpractice concerns
- 29% increased the number of c-sections because of malpractice concerns
- 8% stopped doing obstetrics because of malpractice concerns
In 2009 in 17 states liability premiums for OB/GYNs were more than $100,000 a year. In one state OB/GYNs pay > $200,000/year for malpractice insurance.
I have blogged before about how lawyers impact the c-section rate. How great men like *cough* honest John Edwards have made hundreds of millions of dollars from obsterics lawsuits.
I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t.
But it needs to be fixed.
Lawyers are changing the practice of medicine, and it’s wrong.