Are you one of the many Washington residents who may have a concern that your doctor or other health care provider may have made a mistake? If so, you are sadly not alone. According to Diederich Healthcare, the state saw almost $69 million paid out in medical malpractice claims in 2014 alone.
Of the claims paid in 2014, 30 percent involved a patient’s death and 35 percent involved permanent injury identified as either major or significant. Another 13 percent of people experienced injuries that left them requiring care for life, with a brain injury or without the use of their arms or legs. Claims involving obstectrics were involved in 11 percent of paid cases while treatment problems were associated with another 19 percent. While surgical errors accounted for 24 percent of claims paid, it was errors related to diagnoses that affected the biggest number of cases as 30 percent related to this factor.
Nationally, the cost of all claims paid in 2014 climbed very close to $3.9 billion dollars. That figure represents an increase of 4.4 percent over 2013 and the payouts in 2013 had risen over those in 2012. The per capita cost of medical malpractice payouts in Washington in 2014 was almost 16 percent higher than it was in the previous year. Along the west coast, California’s total payouts exceeded those of Washington’s but Washington had a higher per capita payout amount.
If you would like to learn more about how the state of Washington stacks up in terms of medical malpractice payouts, please feel free to visit the patient injury page of our Washington medical error and patient safety website.