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    The best and worst states for ob/gyn practice: a professional liability perspective


    Ob/gyns are sued more frequently and pay more for less professional liability coverage than physicians in virtually all other medical specialties except neurosurgery.1 “Malpractice climate and premiums” were the sixth most important factor in deciding where to practice for physicians surveyed by Medscape in 20132 (Table 1). But ob/gyns likely ranked professional liability concerns much higher on their list because ob/gyns pay more for less coverage, because they are sued more frequently, and because the specialty is fraught with stories alleging tremendous payouts from lawsuits.

    The fear of catastrophic losses—along with extended statues of limitations in some states and the knowledge that liability premiums are becoming cost-prohibitive for all but the most busy practice—are the reasons some ob/gyns are opting out of obstetric practice and many medical students are choosing not to enter obstetric practice at all. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) underscored this trend with its prediction of a shortage of between 9,000 and 14,000 obstetricians in the United States over the next 20 years.1 Those numbers are likely the result of a combination of factors, including the burden of a call schedule, the cost of professional liability insurance, and the fear of being sued.1 Because being named a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit “can be one of life’s most stressful experiences,”3 77.3% of ACOG fellows have been sued,3 and a career choice may be dependent on the fear of medical malpractice liability,4 one critical issue in determining where, and presumably whether, to practice ob/gyn is the local medical malpractice climate.

    Also read: Injuries from known risks may lead to monetary awards


    Adam S. Levine, MD, JD
    Dr. Levine is Adjunct Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida, and Adjunct Professor of Law, Western ...

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    • Dr. Lance
      Ohio has had significant Tort reform and reasonable limits on non economic damages. Premiums are down 30% in the last 5 years. The Ohio State Medical Association deserves much of the credit for this.


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