(HealthDay News) — Nearly one-third of US physicians surveyed in 2022 reported having been sued at some point during their career.

This finding comes from the American Medical Association’s 2016-2022 Physician Practice Benchmark Surveys. The surveys are completed by a nationally representative sample of 3500 physicians who provide at least 20 hours of patient care per week, have completed their residency, are not employed by the federal government, and practice in the United States.

The proportion of physicians who reported being sued throughout their career was 31.2% in 2022, 33.1% in 2020, 32.8% in 2018, and 34.0% in 2016.

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When data from 2020 and 2022 were combined, 32.1% of all physicians said they had been sued. The proportion of physicians who had been sued was higher among those age 55 and older (46.8%) than among those aged 40-54 (23.8%) or those younger than 40 years (9.5%). In addition, women were less likely to be sued than men (23.8% and 36.8%, respectively).

The proportion of physicians who had been sued varied across specialties, ranging from 7.1% in allergy/immunology to 62.4% in obstetrics/gynecology. Among hematologists/oncologists, 8.0% reported being sued.

“Even the most highly qualified and competent physicians in the US may face a medical liability claim in their careers; however, getting sued is not indicative of medical errors,” Jack Resneck Jr, MD, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. “When physicians are sued, two-thirds of civil liability claims are dropped, dismissed, or withdrawn without a finding of fault.”

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