As a general surgeon, you’re probably already aware that you need robust medical malpractice insurance to reduce your risk of financial loss if you are sued for malpractice. According to a new study from the American Medical Association (AMA), general surgeons rank up there with orthopedic surgeons and OB/GYNs at the highest risk of being sued for malpractice during their careers. The data indicated that nearly 60% of general surgeons had been sued as of 2022. Even the most competent and qualified surgeons are likely to face medical malpractice allegations at some point.

Are you shopping for ongoing medical malpractice insurance or just Standalone Tail coverage for a job you are leaving? A SURGPLI insurance broker can help you obtain the right coverage for your specialty and unique situation. We shop the top “A” rated insurance carriers to get you strong, reliable coverage, at the best pricing available. Get a quote now.

Understand Your Risk of Being Sued for Malpractice

In addition to having strong medical malpractice insurance, putting a comprehensive risk management strategy in your practice can improve patient outcomes, reducing your risk of being sued for medical malpractice. To help you better understand your risk, this article looks at some of the surgical and diagnostic incidents that have been noted in medical malpractice allegations against general surgeons.

  • Improper performance of surgery
    A study of claims data by MedPro Group, an “A” rated medical malpractice insurance carrier, indicated that more than 70% of general surgery malpractice lawsuits are related to allegations of poor surgical treatment. Cholecystectomy was the most often cited procedure in these cases, followed by hernia repair, resection/colectomy, and appendectomy.
  • Improper management of surgical patients
    Nearly 30% of the claims in MedPro’s study related to general surgery cases cited allegations of the surgeon’s poor response to the patient’s postoperative complications. This includes the surgeon’s failure to quickly recognize and treat infections, blood clots, hemorrhages, and other potentially life-threatening complications.
  • Retained surgical items
    Although named in only 4% of general surgery claims, the rare incidents involving retained surgical items (RSIs) are serious allegations against general surgeons since RSIs can result in infection, other potentially life-threatening complications, and the need for additional surgeries.

Tips for a Strong Risk Management Strategy

Building and continually fine-tuning a risk management strategy for your general surgery practice is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of surgical errors and improve postoperative patient communication and safety while minimizing your risk of being sued for medical malpractice.

The following key recommendations for a strong risk management strategy are covered in MedPro’s comprehensive checklist of “Risk Management Considerations in Surgical Practice”:

  • Reduce the risk of improper surgical technique and missed patient complications.
    Establish an ongoing plan for reassessment of your own and your medical staff’s surgical skills and competency in the latest surgical techniques and equipment. Also, establish and maintain a comprehensive and consistent procedure for post-surgical patient assessment. To reduce missed post-op complications, foster active communication and collaboration with the entire surgical care team to coordinate patient care before, during, and after surgery.
  • Reduce the risk of diagnostic errors.
    Reduce the risk of misdiagnosis or missing any underlying medical conditions by confirming that all test results and evaluations have been ordered, documented, and reviewed.
  • Be diligent about complete and accurate documentation.
    Ensure that each patient’s case has accurate documentation of the surgery, including preoperative assessments and preparation, intra-operative steps and incidents, and the sequence of postoperative events. In case of a malpractice claim, having complete and comprehensive documentation will help your lawyers build a stronger defense.
  • Complete a risk management program and get a dicount on medical malpractice insurance.
    MedPro and many of the other “A” rated carriers that SURGPLI works with offer discounts on medical malpractice insurance premiums to doctors who complete online risk management programs for private medical practices. Ask a SURGPLI insurance broker about this and other ways to qualify for a discount on medical malpractice insurance premiums.

Need Medical Malpractice Insurance for Your General Surgery Practice?
Reach Out to SURGPLI.

Independent SURGPLI medical malpractice insurance brokers understand the robust coverage requirements of general surgeons. We’ll help you find the right policy for your specialty from “A” rated carriers.

Get a fast quote for medical malpractice insurance or call us at 1-800-969-1339.

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