Facts & Figures: Medical Malpractice Statistics for Surgical Errors and Complications

Surgery Malpractice

Of all the different forms of medical malpractice, cases involving surgery are among the most expensive and traumatic, primarily because a series of corrective surgeries is typically required. Take a look at some statistics relating to surgery malpractice in the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice.

General Surgery Malpractice Statistics

  • Nearly 50% of malpractice trials were against surgeons in 75 of the largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics) 
  • Nearly 33% of malpractice trials were against nonsurgeons in 75 of the largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics) 
  • Roughly 50% of medical malpractice trials related to surgeons in the 75 largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice) 
  • Roughly 33% of medical malpractice trials related to nonsurgeons in the 75 largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice) 
  • Roughly 23% of medical malpractice trials against nonsurgeon doctors were won by the plaintiff in the 75 largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice) 
  • Roughly 26.5% of medical malpractice trials against surgeons were won by the plaintiff in the 75 largest counties in the US 2001 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice)

As previously mentioned, surgery malpractice cases are among the most expensive because of the corrective procedures required to repair any damage caused by the initial surgery. Take a look at some statistics about the payouts in surgery malpractice in the U.S., again, from the Bureau of Justice. 

Medical malpractice lawsuit payment statistics for surgery malpractice in the USA:

  • 4,132 medical malpractice payments were made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • $222,285 was the mean medical malpractice payments made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • $115,000 was the median medical malpractice payments made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • 49,429 medical malpractice payments were made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • $172,172 was the mean medical malpractice payments made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • $82,500 was the median medical malpractice payments made due to surgery related malpractice in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)

Another troubling issue regarding medical malpractice lawsuits is the length of time that victims endure before they are fairly compensated for their injuries and lost wages. The Bureau of Justice also published statistics on this subject. 

Medical malpractice lawsuit payment statistics for surgery malpractice in the USA:

  • There was a 5.56 year mean time delay between surgery related malpractice incident and payment in the US 2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)
  • There was a 4.63 year median time delay between surgery related malpractice incident and payment in the US 2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)

Many people incorrectly believe that primary care physicians are the only ones held accountable for medical malpractice claims. Rather, a significant number of malpractice claims are filed against registered nurses, midwives and those in similar professions each year in the United States. Here are some more statistics from the Bureau of Justice.

Medical malpractice lawsuit payment statistics for surgery malpractice and nurses in the USA:

  • 274 surgery related malpractice payment reports were made against registered nurses in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)
  • 46 surgery related malpractice payment reports were made against nurse anaesthetists in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • 7 surgery related malpractice payment reports were made against nurse midwives in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • 5 surgery related malpractice payment reports were made against nurse practitioners in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS) 
  • 1 surgery related malpractice payment reports were made against advanced nurse practitioners in the US 1990-2002 (2002 Annual Report, National Practitioner Data Bank, US DHHS)

Seattle Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you have suffered from injuries as a result of the negligence of a health care provider, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, extensive injuries and lost wages. The attorneys at the Davis Law Group have handled a number of cases involving medical malpractice and strive to produce serious results for victims of negligence. Contact the Davis Law Group today at 206-727-4000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.