Medical malpractice and the thyroid gland

Daniel D. Lydiatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. A medical malpractice litigation "crisis" exists in this country. Analyzing litigation trends through verdict summaries may help understand causes. Methods. Jury verdict reviews from 1987-2000 were obtained from a computerized database. Reviews compile data on defendants, plaintiffs, allegations of wrongdoing, and verdict summaries. Results. Thirty suits from nine states occurred. Plaintiffs were women in 80% of the cases, with a median age of 41. Fifty percent of patients (15 of 30) had a bad outcome, (9 of 30 dead, 4 of 30 with neurologic deficits, 1 blind, and 1 alive with cancer). Thirty percent alleged surgical complications, mostly recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, and 75% of cancer patients alleged a delay, either through falsely negative biopsies or no biopsy taken. Respiratory events occurred in 43% and frequently resulted in large awards. Conclusions. The liberal use of fine-needle aspiration and documentation of surgical risks may help reduce litigation. Complications and bad outcomes do not indicate negligence. Analysis may contribute to risk management strategies or litigation reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-431
Number of pages3
JournalHead and Neck
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

Keywords

  • Malpractice
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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