Emergency Department and Urgent Care Medical Malpractice Claims 2001–15

Kelly E. Wong, MD; P. Divya Parikh, MPH; Kwon C. Miller; Mark R. Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE


Western J Emerg Med. 2021;22(2):333-338. 

In This Article


This study has several limitations. While the DSP is the largest independent database of MPL claims and lawsuits, it does not capture all closed claims during the study period and may not be representative. In addition, because DSP data were in aggregate to ensure confidentiality, we were not able to obtain information about individual cases or trend claim-specific data over time from 2001–2015. Prior work on EP demographics has suggested that total number of years in practice and total visits seen were associated with increased risk of MPL;[21] similarly, due to the aggregate data, we did not analyze demographics of individual physicians in this study. Additionally, average monetary values did not account for inflation rates, and were averaged over the 15-year period. We were unable to differentiate between types of aortic aneurysm in resulting medical condition, and this category comprises thoracic, abdominal, and thoracoabdominal. Very few medical errors result in litigation,[22,23] and this analysis of closed-claims data found in the DSP provides only one perspective of the intricacies involved in clinical practice and medical negligence in emergency medicine.