Medical malpractice and sinonasal disease

Daniel D. Lydiatt, Ryan K. Sewell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: Sinonasal disease is a common diagnosis that is encountered by nearly all specialties. This study examines medical malpractice trends in sinonasal disease. Methods: One hundred fifty-two malpractice cases involving sinonasal disease between 1988 and 2005 were obtained from a computerized legal database. Results: Defendants prevailed in 62 percent of the cases with a median monetary award of $650,000. Younger patients prevailed at a higher rate than did older patients (50% vs 35%), and men had a higher median award than did women ($1.0 million vs $314,000). These results approached but did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.09, P = 0.06). Otolaryngologists were the most commonly sued specialty (56%). The most common complications of endoscopic sinus surgery included cerebrospinal fluid leak, orbital trauma, and anosmia. Cancer plaintiffs received the highest median award of $1.5 million. Conclusions: Physicians must be diligent in forming differential diagnoses, and surgeons must ensure informed consent is obtained and documented. Future studies should continue to identify risk management strategies and areas for malpractice reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-681
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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