Number of claims against heart docs on the rise

According to a recent study, the number of medical malpractice claims against cardiologists, that is, doctors who are experts in treating the heart, are on the rise.

The study concluded that between 2006 and 2015, the number of claims against cardiologists nearly doubled, increasing by 91 percent. The total amount of compensation patients received from these claims more than doubled, increasing by a whopping 142 percent. It should be noted that cardiologists historically, as a specialty, face malpractice claims at a rate that is higher than average.

The study examined over 1,500 claims of medical malpractice by relying on a national database used by malpractice insurance carriers as well as hospitals and clinics. In general, the claims were often based on a failed or missed diagnosis. They were also frequently the result of alleged improper medical treatment.

It found that even though the number of claims and payments had increased considerably, over two-thirds of all claims still wound up getting closed either without a payment or after being decreased. Of those claims outstanding, 30 percent got settled outside of court.

While it is hard to know exactly why there has been increased scrutiny of cardiologists over the last decade or so, it is not hard to understand why cardiologists in general have a higher rate of medical malpractice claims.

The heart is, after all, a very important organ, and even a small mistake on the part of doctors trusted to treat that organ can spell disastrous consequences to the patient. Even if the patient survives, these sorts of consequences can mean additional medical bills, lost wages and other costly expenses for which the patient deserves and may even need compensation.