Impact of Malpractice Claims


We studied all family physicians (470) who purchased obstetrical malpractice insurance from the largest malpractice insurer in Washington State (WSPIEA) from 1982 to 1988. One-third discontinued obstetrics but remained in practice, and these physicians were older, more likely to practice in an urban area, and more likely to be in solo practice. Rural family physicians were less likely to quit practicing obstetrics than their urban colleagues. Obstetrically related malpractice claims against family physicians were relatively infrequent and are not a factor in the decision of most family physicians who stop practicing obstetrics.