It’s hard to overestimate the power and influence that healthcare providers, their medical malpractice insurance companies, and lobbyists have over the legal system.
They delivered the bitter pill of tort reform to Texans in 2003. They benefit from legal privileges that keep their actions secret in hospital board rooms—even when a hospital makes outrageous hiring and retention decisions concerning a doctor, these laws shield hospitals from liability. They have the inside knowledge on trends in medical malpractice claims, while much of that information isn’t available to plaintiffs and their lawyers.
Beginning in 1985, a group of over 50 insurance companies banded together to form a group called the PIAA Data Sharing Project. The insurance companies covered medical malpractice claims for doctors and essentially pulled information about the claims. In 2018, the venture changed names to the Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL Association) Data Sharing Project.
Whatever you want to call it, the data and information that they’ve put together is extremely valuable in terms of evaluating and pursuing medical malpractice cases. I recently gained access to some of it and want to share what I found about some different medical specialties.
Gastroenterology medical malpractice
Today, we’ll discuss gastroenterology. Gastroenterology is a field of medicine that deals with illnesses of the entire digestive tract, from the esophagus to the anus, including the stomach, bowels, intestines, colon, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Gastroenterologists are medical doctors who complete additional clinical training including a three-year residency in internal medicine, followed by a three-year fellowship in gastroenterology.
Patients are often referred by their primary care physicians to gastroenterologists for symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, heartburn or reflux, swallowing issues, chronic nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In addition to doing physical exams and providing medications to assess their patients, gastroenterologists frequently perform invasive procedures such as endoscopies (inserting a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera on the end of it through the mouth into the upper digestive tract for examination) and colonoscopies (inserting a long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera at the end through the innocent victim into the colon).
According to MPL Association data, the most common primary medical factors in claims against gastroenterologists include:
• Improper performance of the procedure
• Diagnostic errors
The most frequent outcomes include:
• Accidental puncture or laceration during the procedure. In my experience, in most instances this is usually not negligence, according to most medical experts.
• Cardiac or cardiopulmonary arrest
• Intestinal disorders
The average payout by insurance companies for medical malpractice claims involving gastroenterologists is $336,182. It’s important to note that these data come from nationwide sources, not only Texas, which has damages limitations imposed by tort reform.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor gastroenterology care, then contact a top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for help in evaluating your potential case.