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Study finds malpractice suits more common against male doctors

When it comes to choosing a doctor, there are certain factors that are more important than others for Pennsylvania residents. Typically, the most important factors have to do with the doctor's qualifications, area of expertise and the relationship between the patient and the doctor.

Just as many factors can go into choosing a doctor, so too can there be many factors in suing a doctor for

medical malpractice when mistakes are made in the patient's care. However, a surprising new study has shed some light on which doctors are subject to malpractice claims more often.

According to the recent study published in the journal BMC Medicine, male doctors are more than twice as likely than female doctors to have malpractice suits filed against them because of alleged doctor error. This disparity has remained consistent for the past 15 years, which surprised some researchers because of the thought that the levels would equal out more between the genders after the emergence of more practicing female doctors. The authors of the study believed there were likely other reasons that accounted for the gender discrepancy, including factors like the physician's interaction with patients.

Another factor may be related to the fact that male doctors are more likely to own their own practice. The owner of the practice is often a defendant in a malpractice action, as opposed to individual employees, but this is not always the case.

Ultimately, when a patient suffers injury at the hands of a doctor, it does not matter what gender the doctor is, as the patient simply wants to hold the doctor accountable for the error that caused the injury. Accordingly, while the study may be of interest from a general perspective, it does not change the fact that all doctors are held liable if they do not follow the standard of care.

Source: Washington Post, "Male doctors are more likely to be sued than females, study finds," Robert Gebelhoff, Aug. 18, 2015

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