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Medical Malpractice of Vestibular Schwannoma: A 40-Year Review of the United States Legal Databases.

  • Author(s): Birkenbeuel, Jack
  • Vu, Kimberly
  • Lehrich, Brandon M
  • Abouzari, Mehdi
  • Cheung, Dillon
  • Khosravi, Pooya
  • Sahyouni, Ronald
  • Ziai, Kasra
  • Moshtaghi, Omid
  • Sahyouni, Sammy
  • Djalilian, Hamid R
  • et al.
Abstract

OBJECTIVES:To analyze medical malpractice lawsuit trends pertaining to cases of vestibular schwannomas (VS). METHODS:Two major computerized legal databases (LexisNexis and WestLaw) were queried and reviewed for evaluation of all the US state and federal court records from civil trials alleging malpractice between 1976 and 2016. RESULTS:A total of 32 VS cases were identified. Allegations were divided into four categories: misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis (47%), postoperative complications (44%), failure of informed consent or information sharing (16%), and other (3%). Postoperative complications included facial nerve paralysis, myocardial infarction, meningitis, and intracranial hemorrhage. Judgment amounts ranged from $300,000 to $2,000,000. The specialist type was specified for 24 of the 32 cases (75%): neurosurgeons (n = 9; 37%), neurotologists (n = 6; 25%), general otolaryngologists (n = 5; 21%), primary care physicians (n = 4; 17%), neurologists (n = 3; 12%), radiologists (n = 3; 12%), anesthesiologists (n = 2; 8%), radiation oncologists (n = 1; 4%), and general surgeon (n = 1; 4%). Of these 24 cases, (n = 9; 37%) two or more physicians were named as defendants in the lawsuit. CONCLUSIONS:Enhanced physician-patient communication, ensuring proper and adequate patient consent procedures, and proper documentation are good practices that may decrease the likelihood of lawsuits.

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