Malpractice cases against diagnostic radiologists are dismissed about half the time, a slightly lower rate than overall case dismissal among all specialties, according to a study published in JAMA earlier this month.
Researchers examined 10,056 claims that involved some defense cost and were closed between 2002 and 2005. They found that 54.1 percent of cases across all specialties were dismissed. Internists and medicine-based specialists had the highest dismissal rate (61.5 percent), while pathologists had the lowest (36.5 percent).
The number of dismissed cases against diagnostic radiologists fell between general surgeons and subspecialists and obstetricians and gynecologists.
Regardless of the outcomes, the shows that malpractice suits are time consuming, with the mean time to close a malpractice claim being 19 months. Nonlitigated claims required 11.6 months and litigated claims 25.1 months.
Claims that were resolved at trial took a mean time of 39 months if found in favor of the defendant and 43.5 months if in favor of the plaintiff.
“While most claims were ultimately decided in a physician's favor, that resolution came only after months or years,” researchers said. “The substantial portion of litigated claims that are not dismissed in court and the length of time required to resolve litigated claims more generally may help explain why malpractice claims undergoing litigation are an important source of concern to physicians.”