The New York City Comptroller’s Office published a report recently revealing how hospitals in the city compare with respect to the number of medical malpractice claims filed against them from 2009 to 2013. (See chart below).
While one bright spot shows an overall reduction in medical malpractice claims over the past decade, the Comptroller’s hospital-by-hospital analysis reveals that some facilities are faring better than others at reducing the number of injuries and deaths to patients caused by healthcare worker error and/or negligence.
In fiscal year 2013, for example, Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn had more medical malpractice claims filed against it than in any previous year since 2009. And, Kings County Hospital, also in Brooklyn, had the highest number of new medical malpractice claims than in any year since 2010. On the other hand, showing considerable improvement in reducing the number of medical malpractice claims were Jacobi/Bronx Municipal and Harlem and Lincoln Hospitals in Harlem, both of which had the lowest number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed against them since 2009.
According to the report, the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation (HHC) has been the most successful agency in the city in reducing overall negligence claims cost in recent years. Most claims against the HHC are for medical malpractice (60%), one of the costliest of all personal injury claims.
The report credits reforms made by the HHC to improve patient safety, analyze and learn from prior malpractice cases and introduce new technologies such as pharmacy robots, as well as implement advancements in such operational issues as electronic medical record-keeping and automated medication administration with built-in checks for lowering the number of medical malpractice claims and the costs associated with those claims.
“While these trends are encouraging,” Edward P. Milstein, partner in the top New York medical malpractice law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C., said, “there is still a lot of work to be done in reducing medical malpractice claims. The chart below shows that almost 500 cases were still instituted and the fact is that most cases of medical malpractice are not pursued by the victims.”
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