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Most doctors are surprised by medical malpractice lawsuits

You may assume that most doctors who are sued for medical malpractice in Colorado know that it's going to happen before it does. They know that they've made mistakes, and they expect the lawsuits. While this sounds logical, the reality is actually the opposite. Studies have shown that the majority of doctors had no idea they were going to be sued and were very surprised when it happened.

In fact, studies have put the amount of surprised medical professionals at a full 74 percent.

The publication that did the study, Medscape Medical News, talked to 3,500 different doctors. About 1,400 of them had faced lawsuits in the past—roughly 40 percent.

Of those, the aforementioned 74 percent were shocked to be sued. Moreover, about 25 percent thought there was a chance they could be sued, though they didn't know for sure. Most striking, perhaps, is the fact that a mere 1 percent claimed to have known without a doubt that they'd be sued in advance.

One of the reasons cited was that doctors just didn't know if the patient was doing well or poorly, so they didn't know things hadn't gone well. For example, a doctor may make a diagnosis, set the patient up with a specialist or a different medical team and then not talk to the patient again. Only later would he or she find out that the initial diagnosis had been wrong and that the patient wanted to sue. The suit would be hard to anticipate because the doctor may have assumed the diagnosis was correct and that everything else had gone perfectly, when the opposite was really true.

Those who want to sue in Colorado and Wyoming must know their rights. An attorney can provide more information.

Source: The Advisory Board Company, "Inside malpractice lawsuits: Why so many doctors don't see them coming," accessed Nov. 19, 2015

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