Trends in Pathology Malpractice Claims

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Previously reported analyses of pathology malpractice claims reported to The Doctors Company from 1995 through 2003 uncovered repetitive patterns of specimen type and diagnostic category that contributed to claims. To determine whether these patterns had changed, 276 pathology malpractice claims from 2004 through 2010 were reviewed and are the subject of this report. Claims involving melanoma, breast (specimens and fine needle aspiration), system error, gynecologic cytology, and fine needle aspiration (excluding breast) accounted for 49% of the total claims. There has been a significant decline in the number of claims involving melanoma, breast, and gynecologic cytology, and the factors contributing to this decline are discussed.

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