Hospitals and healthcare workers that provide a lower quality of care are inherently at a higher risk for medical errors, negligence, and malpractice cases. Underpaid and overworked doctors and surgeons are more likely to make mistakes that result in major injuries for their patients.
The 2019 Hospital and Physician Professional Liability Benchmark Study showed that there has been a steep increase in the number of medical malpractice lawsuits nationwide since 2015. Businesswire reports that data from the U.S. Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market suggests that the increased strain being put on the U.S. healthcare system and its providers due to COVID has led to more medical errors and created higher than average lawsuit numbers due to understaffed hospitals, and overworked doctors.
Even before the pandemic, Hawaii hospitals have been ranked in the bottom quartile of hospitals by state. According to WalletHub’s 2021 report of the Best and Worst States for Doctors, Hawaii is ranked 43rd out of all the states, considering comparable low compensation rates and mid-range numbers regarding medical malpractice suits and payouts. The state has among the fewest hospital beds available per capita and struggles to maintain the capacity of doctors needed.
The last available data from True Cost of Health Care shows that the number of lawsuits that were paid out was on the rise as of 2017 with an average of 21.61 lawsuits completed per every million people. This data ranks Hawaii as the 44th state overall in the number of lawsuits filed per every 100 practicing physicians.
In an effort to head off excessive or fraudulent malpractice claims, the state introduced its Medical Inquiry and Conciliation Panel (MICP). This panel, put in place in 2013, serves to provide informal and nonbinding opinions based on the evidence supplied by both parties. The informational nature of the panel discourages fraudulent claims. Before filing a medical malpractice claim in Hawaii, you must initiate the process by filing a complaint with the MICP, and allowing time for an initial investigation.
The most recent data from the MICP shows the reported number of original claims submitted in Hawaii as of 2019:
- 2019: 119 claims
- 2018: 80 claims
- 2017: 72 claims
- 2016: 91 claims
- 2015: 101 claims
As Hawaii and the rest of the U.S. healthcare system continue to recover from the stressors of the pandemic it is important for hospitals to maintain an excellent standard of care for their patients. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) is a comprehensive government database of all medical malpractice reports and payments in the United States in each given year and is available to the public.
If you believe you or a family member has been the victim of medical malpractice in Hawaii, contact Bostwick & Peterson’s experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys who will listen to your needs and provide you with compassionate support and guidance by filling out our online form or calling 888-547-7677.