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Psychiatric malpractice: a review of the national loss experience
Am J Psychiatry 1984;141:979-981.
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Abstract

The authors examine the outcome of 217 malpractice actions against psychiatrists from 1974 to 1978. Claims against psychiatrists represented only 0.3% of the 71,788 claims against all physicians. Loss experience was developed as a function of procedure (ECT, psychotherapy), type of injury (suicide, diagnostic error), and the patient's psychiatric diagnosis. Over one-third of the claims were closed without payment; the average paid indemnity was $31,000. Diagnostic errors and suicide were the major sources of loss. Only a few cases went to trial. These data illustrate that psychiatry has one of the best malpractice claim records.

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