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Malpractice Worry Discouraging Medical Students From Taking Up Obstetrics And Gynecology

gyn, 86 percent reported they are considering leaving Florida to practice because of the medical liability concerns.

Overall, interest in another specialty and lifestyle concerns – work hours and unpredictable schedule – were major reasons students cited for not choosing ob/gyn careers, whether they initially considered the specialty or not. However, the survey demonstrated a significant split in concerns about Florida's medical-legal climate between these two groups.

Of the students who considered ob/gyn but decided against it, 32 percent ranked "fear of malpractice" as the first or second deterrent to entering the field, compared to 21 percent who never considered ob/gyn. Nearly 27 percent of students who considered ob/gyn ranked "fear of being sued" as a first or second deterrent compared to 7 percent who never considered the specialty.

"It appears that some students may have chosen ob/gyn except for the fear of high malpractice insurance costs and lawsuits are associated with our field of medicine," Dr. Deutsch said.

In 2005, Florida ranked first in the top10 states with the most expensive average base rate medical malpractice premiums for obstetrician-gynecologists, according to the Medical Liability Monitor.

The USF authors acknowledge that students who felt strongly about Florida's malpractice climate may have been more inclined to respond to the survey, and cite the need for more national research to clarify future practitioners' concerns.

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