Getting surgery, even when it is routine or elective surgery, can be a scary and emotional time for patients and their loved ones. Moreover, when an individual requires more serious surgery, such as neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery, patients put much faith in their surgeon, trusting that he or she will use the utmost care when performing surgery on them. While most of the time surgeries are completed without any errors or concerns, a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon could make a medical error, causing the patient much harm.

What are some common medical malpractice statistics regarding neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery? According to recent statistics, roughly 3.4 percent of neurosurgeons face malpractice claims each year while there are about 18 percent facing any type of claim. Moreover, the specialty facing the most claims annually is neurosurgery, which is only slightly higher than thoracic-cardiovascular surgeons.

With regards to orthopedic surgery, roughly four percent face medical malpractice claims each year and about 14 percent face any type of claim annually. On average, orthopedic surgeons face a median average of $100,000 and a mean average of $225,00 in malpractice payments. In comparison, neurosurgery malpractice payments have a median average of $225,000 and a mean average of $325,000.

Most of the cases in this study involved improperly performed surgeries, which occurred about 70 percent of the time a medical malpractice claim is filed. The second most common reason is the failure to diagnose, which is alleged in about 28 percent of the medical malpractice cases.

For those undergoing neurosurgery, most patients were first treated in the surgeon’s office while only nine percent of claims involved a hospital consultation by the neurosurgeon. The study also found that most malpractice claims for neurosurgery were for elective surgeries for degenerative spine disease.

Whether a patient is harmed during a serious surgery, such as neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery, or by a more routine surgery, it is important to note that any type of medical professional could make a medical error. Negligence during surgery could greatly impact a patient, resulting in additional medical problems or even death.

When medical errors occur or a patient believes that he or she is a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to understand what recourses are available. A patient might be able to recover compensation for their losses and damages arising from the incident.

Source:, “12 statistics on medical malpractice for orthopedic, neurosurgeons,” Laura Dyrda, Dec. 15, 2014