The decision of The Medical Protective Company to raise the classification of pediatricians in Pennsylvania has been due to extremely high losses that our company has sustained on behalf of the specialty. The losses are such that the specialty no longer can be afforded at the lower Class I rates; the risk to be assumed is simply greater than that.

It would not be correct to assume that the cause of the increased losses are the newborn. Our study of the most recent five years of pediatric cases shows that neonatal claims against pediatricians account for about 13 percent of cases which wound up costing $50,000 or more to resolve. However, claims alleging a failure to treat a condition or negligent treatment of a condition involved 21 percent of the claims, and failure to diagnose led the list with 44 percent of the cases. Thus, neonatal problems ranked a distant third in terms of the number of claims. In terms of dollars paid, the ranking remains the same. Failure to diagnose involved 42 percent of the dollars paid, with treatment failures at 17 percent and newborn claims at 12 percent.

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