Medical malpractice and cancer of the skin

Daniel D. Lydiatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background A litigation crisis exists in this country, and it may be better understood through analysis of lawsuits. Verdict summary analysis has been used for this purpose. Methods Ninety-nine jury verdict reviews from 1986 to 2001 were obtained from a computerized database. Reviews compiled data on defendants, plaintiffs, allegations of wrongdoing, cancer cell types, sites, outcomes, and case summaries. Data was entered into a spreadsheet for analysis. Results Failure to diagnose was alleged in 54%; of these, 48% alleged biopsies were inappropriately omitted. Allegations were highest for failure to diagnose in dermatologists and general practice physicians, for misdiagnosis in pathologists, and for complications in surgeons. Young patients and those with poor outcomes received more and larger awards. Trauma appears to have support for a role in causation of skin cancer in some courts. Conclusions The study of skin cancer suits may help develop risk management and prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-694
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Malpractice
  • Skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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