Legal Review of Vasectomy Litigation and the Variables Impacting Trial Outcomes

Andrew J. Blazek, Joshua D. Belle, Michael P. Deibert, Christopher M. Deibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To demonstrate the substantial litigious risks associated with vasectomy, a common urologic procedure. We examined the risk factors and types of negligence involved in vasectomy cases that go to trial and their associated outcomes. Methods: Using the Westlaw legal database, we searched all jury verdicts and settlements for the term “vasectomy” from January 1, 1990 to December 31, 2017. Each case was evaluated for defendant specialty, alleged malpractice breach, resulting complications, outcome including verdict and monetary payment, and whether or not a pregnancy was involved. Results: The Westlaw database query returned 67 unique cases which were settled (13.3%) or went to trial in court (86.7%). Of these, the majority (64.2%) were decided in favor of the defending physician. The most commonly alleged breach of duty was negligence in postoperative care (38.8%). This was followed by negligent surgical performance (37.3%) and negligence in performing informed consent (29.9%). The cases filed for negligence in postoperative care, surgical performance, and informed consent were all generally decided in favor of the defendant (61.5%, 56%, and 90%, respectively). Of the 57 cases that specified, 82.5% of the physicians listed in the litigation were urologists. The average settlement won by each plaintiff was $401,913, although most cases were settled for the medical and litigation costs themselves. Conclusion: Medical malpractice cases related to the perioperative aspects of vasectomy involve many areas of negligence. This data may guide vasectomists in where to focus time and communication to best serve patients and minimize litigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-124
Number of pages5
JournalUrology
Volume131
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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