Scanning For Emerging MPL Risks
Medical professional liability insurers in the U.S. operate in an environment where they are constantly challenged by emerging risks and new exposures.
In the current edition of MPL News we look at the latest thinking on how CT scans increase the risk of cancer in children, for example.
A 20-year study by U.S., UK and Canadian scientists says that cumulative radiation from CT scans can triple the risk of leukemia in children exposed to between five and ten scans. Researchers from Cork University Hospital in Ireland recently warned that the increasing use of CT scans is adding to radiation exposure and the lifetime risk of cancer in young patients.
In the U.S., the FDA has already acknowledged the increased risk children face and is to ask makers of CT and X-ray equipment to include specific “dose” settings for children.
There are other risks around equipment, as a recent Pennsylvania malpractice case showed, after a baby was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The case involved the use of a bedside ultrasound which had failed to detect the baby’s heartbeat. It was found that the equipment had not been checked for 10 years. A jury awarded the infant plaintiff $78.5 million.
Risks around pharmaceuticals are growing too, partly because of the trend for U.S. hospitals and physicians to order drugs directly from foreign wholesalers. Today, over 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients and 40% of finished medicines are imported. Unfortunately the scale of counterfeit production has also become big business, now worth an estimated $75 billion.
The U.S. does have a relatively safe pharmaceutical supply chain but some physicians are purchasing pharmaceuticals from unlicensed sources – with potentially serious liability issues.
From equipment to medicines, these new and changing exposures can have a serious impact across MPL insurers’ business. That’s why carriers need to diagnose them early.
For more on these and other topics, read our latest issue of MPL News.