Male physicians more likely to be sued than female physicians: 6 things to know

A new study in BMC Medicine has examined the association between sex and medico-legal action.

Here are six things to know about the study.

1. The study authors noted there was an overall 17 percent rise in the number of medical licenses revoked, denied or suspended in the United States between 2008 and 2012. Between 2010 and 2013, there was a 64 percent increase in the number of complaints to the General Medical Council in the United Kingdom.

2. The study authors included 32 reports examining the association between physicians' sex and medico-legal action in their systematic review.

3. Of the 32 reports, 27 found male physicians were more likely to have experienced at least one medico-legal action than female physicians.

4. Male physicians were more likely to have experienced medico-legal action including disciplinary action by a medical regulatory body, malpractice or a criminal case.

5. Overall, the study authors found male physicians had 2.5 times the odds of medico-legal action compared to female physicians. The results were consistent across a number of years, different countries and a range of study designs.

6. The authors noted more information is needed to understand why male physicians are more likely to face medico-legal action.

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