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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas