The Doctor’s Advocate | Fourth Quarter 2015

Study Reveals Orthopedists Can Partner with Patients to Reduce Risks

The Doctors Company analyzed 1,895 claims against orthopedists that closed from 2007–2014. Our study found that the top patient allegation—accounting for 46 percent of claims—was improper performance of surgery. However, this allegation was often made when the outcome of the procedure differed from the patient’s expectations.

Expert reviewers found that only a small percentage of patient injuries were due to substandard care. In a majority of these cases, the injury was a known risk disclosed to the patient prior to the procedure.

This finding highlights the importance of effective informed consent conversations that help patients fully understand the risks of the procedures they are undergoing.

Find additional closed claims analyses for anesthesia, cardiology, emergency medicine, and obstetrics at

Why do Orthopedists get Sued - Call-out Image

To read the full study, examples of claims, and strategies and resources to reduce risks, visit

The Doctor’s Advocate is published by The Doctors Company to advise and inform its members about loss prevention and insurance issues.

The guidelines suggested in this newsletter are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. They attempt to define principles of practice for providing appropriate care. The principles are not inclusive of all proper methods of care nor exclusive of other methods reasonably directed at obtaining the same results.

The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

The Doctor’s Advocate is published quarterly by Corporate Communications, The Doctors Company. Letters and articles, to be edited and published at the editor’s discretion, are welcome. The views expressed are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or official policy of The Doctors Company. Please sign your letters, and address them to the editor.

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