Malpractice Allegations: A Reality Check for Resident Physicians

Beiqun Zhao, Luis Cajas-Monson, Sonia Ramamoorthy
Submitted: February, 2019

A significant number of medical malpractice claims involve resident physicians as a responsible party. Though universally recognized as important, medico-legal training in surgical residency is often lacking. 4% of malpractice cases from 2007-2017 identified a resident physician and 32% involved a surgical specialty. Common allegations were “improper performance of surgery” and “improper management of surgical patient”. 1 case attributed supervision as the major allegation but supervision was a contributing factor in 26% of cases. 18% of cases named a resident as a defendant. Most residents correctly answered that they can be defendants, agreed that a medico-legal curriculum is at least “moderately important”, but had “poor” to “terrible” malpractice knowledge.

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