New York readers may be surprised to learn that opioids are responsible for more medical malpractice claims than any other prescription drug. The findings were announced in a new study by Coverys, a medical liability insurer based in Boston.
For the study, Coverys researchers examined over 10,000 medical liability claims that were filed against the company’s clients over a four-year period. All the cases had been resolved. They found that medication claims were the fourth most common cause of liability claims filed against doctors insured by the company. Of all medication claims, 24 percent involved opioids. Forty-six percent of claims originated with primary care physicians, and 22 percent originated from hospital operating rooms or emergency rooms.
While opioids were the top cause of drug-related insurance claims, anticoagulants were also found to be a problem. According to Coverys, anticoagulant prescriptions made up 16 percent of all medication claims. In order to prevent medication-related mishaps, the company said that doctors need to be especially vigilant when dosing people who fall in the extreme end of patient demographics, such as the oldest, youngest, lightest and heaviest. They also need to take special care when prescribing opioids and anticoagulants.
Medication errors are a top cause of injury and death to patients in the United States. Individuals who have been harmed by a medication mistake may have grounds to file a medical malpractice suit against the physician responsible for the error. If the claim is successful, the victim could be compensated for their medical expenses and any pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the medical error. By partnering with an attorney, victims could have their cases assessed.