Medical Errors, Medical Malpractice and Death Cases in North Carolina: The Impact of Demographic and System Variables
Catherine T. Harris
Wake Forest University - Department of Sociology
Ralph A. Peeples
Wake Forest University - School of Law
July 22, 2014
A Study of hospitals in North Carolina from January 2002 to December 2007 reports that there was no statistically significant decrease in medical errors during this period, in spite of efforts to reduce them (Landrigan et al. 2010). Our study utilizes a medical liability insurer's archive of death cases in North Carolina from 2002 to 2009 (156 cases involving 401 physician-defendants. Given the implications of medical error for health care delivery, we consider whether demographic variables (age, gender, marital status and race) and system variables (hospital involvement and number of physician-defendants) are predictive of higher risk of death. Our dependent variables are three major categories of error associated with patient death in the archive (diagnostic, treatment and surgical. We find that men are significantly more at risk for diagnostic errors. There is evidence that age and number of defendants is predictive of treatment errors. Policy implications are discussed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: medical errors, medical malpractice, death cases, demographic and system variables
JEL Classification: 110kworking papers series
Date posted: July 22, 2014
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