Scariest Health Care Risk: Obstetrics

The Scream, by Edvard Munch (1893)There is no more scary risk in health care than obstetrics. Obstetrics is the chief concern of both hospital and physician underwriters due to the potential for large awards. Claim frequency is also an issue for obstetricians. Claims can potentially involve two persons: mother and child. Both are young and can evoke sympathy from juries. The cost of ongoing care for such a young person, especially infants, can be very expensive. While the national medical malpractice environment is greatly improved, the largest awards typically involve events occurring during obstetrical care, especially in the labor and delivery suite. Two weeks ago there occurred one of the largest malpractice verdicts in recent years, a case in Michigan, in which the award was $144 million. Earlier this year a case in Connecticut resulted in a $58 million pay-out. Patient safety in obstetrics is improving with new technology such as patient simulation labs using mannequins and bedside clinical informatics. But despite these technological advances, obstetrics still strikes fear into the hearts of underwriters because of the size and frequency of claims.

This post was part of the special feature about Our Scariest Risks, published October 31, 2011. The feature also included these other risks:
Captive Insurance
Employee Benefits
Environmental Liability
Financial Services
Health Care
Middle East
Real Estate
Supply Chain
Trade Credit

About Paul Greve

Paul is the Executive Vice President of Willis' Health Care practice in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, with extensive expertis…
Categories: Health Care Industry

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