Orthopedics Closed Claims Study

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The Doctors Company analyzed 1,895 claims against orthopedists that closed from 2007–2014. The study found that the top patient allegation—accounting for 46 percent of claims—was improper performance of surgery, but in almost a third of the cases, patients were not in compliance with their treatment plan. The study also showed that the top factor contributing to patient injury, as determined by a panel of experts, was technical performance. However, reviewers found in most of these cases, the claims were related to known risks disclosed to the patient prior to the procedure. We hope that the information presented here prompts physicians to open a discussion in their practice or organization. Access additional resources to help reduce the risks identified in the study.

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Top Patient Safety Risks in Orthopedics

Watch the video to see the key highlights of the study’s findings, and download the infographic for information on the most common patient safety risks.

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Risk Mitigation Strategies

Here are additional resources that can help orthopedists avoid issues identified in our Orthopedics Closed Claims Study:

Patient Adherence and Informed Consent

Postoperative Thromboembolism

Surgical Team Training

Infection Control

Established Guidelines


The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider considering the circumstances of the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

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