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MDLinxThe Biggest Malpractice Cases of 2023: States are Shifting the Legal Landscape

Obstetricians remain the specialty most likely to see malpractice suits.

The legal landscape surrounding medical malpractice is shifting in the United States, with 2023 marking some headline-grabbing cases and changes to malpractice laws in several states. From record-breaking jury awards to an emphasis on obstetricians being the most sued specialty, the year has been notable in the area of medical malpractice. The article provides a comprehensive look at key cases, trends, and legal adjustments, all of which contribute to an evolving and complex scenario for healthcare providers.

Key Points:

  • Multiple jury awards over $25 million, including a Pennsylvania case resulting in $183 million – the largest single award in state history.
  • Several states, including California, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, have changed their malpractice laws.
  • High-profile criminal malpractice cases emerged, including sexual assaults by physicians.
  • The issue of missed and misdiagnoses continues to dominate, with the potential for AI and technology to offer decision support.
  • Serious crimes involving intentional misconduct have brought about complex trials.

Additional Points:

  • Technology such as AI could aid in reducing diagnostic errors, according to Dr. David L. Feldman.
  • Other states are actively considering changes to their malpractice laws, including altering the statute of limitations and award caps.
  • Specific legislation is being considered in states like Arkansas, affecting gender-affirming care.


  • The data and trends of 2023 reflect a changing landscape for medical malpractice, with increased scrutiny, record-breaking awards, and legal reforms posing new challenges for physicians.

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“You look at diagnostic errors, and this is the thing that gets people’s attention. Diagnostic error claims can be very expensive because they often happen in younger folks who have an income, have dependents, have a family that relies on them.”

David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPL, FACS
SVP and Chief Medical Officer
Healthcare Risk Advisors

Chief Medical Officer
The Doctors Company
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