The learning objectives of this paper are to study the actual extent of medical malpractice, the medical acts at risk, and their impact on mortality. The number of suits filed against physicians for deaths resulting from alleged malpractice and autopsies ordered by the Judicial Authority in cases of possible therapeutic misadventures are rising. A major factor pushing this trend is public mistrust of healthcare providers and public and facilities. This mistrust is partly fueled by the mass media which, often to gain larger audience shares, sensationalizes single cases of real or alleged iatrogenic injury. Further, the potential for astronomic settlements, either from the single doctor or from the healthcare institution, has increased the number of legal proceedings that start on the basis of mere suspicion. In this context, the autopsy becomes an important instrument for shedding light on the situation, and it must be carried out by highly qualified and experienced professionals capable of ascertaining the cause of death, identifying any possible misconduct, and assessing its consequences. We reviewed the data regarding autopsies performed at the Forensic Medicine Section of the Department of Internal and Public Medicine of the University of Bari over 1991 to 2000. We culled the cases alleged malpractice and, from these, identified those in which the death had truly been caused by medical error. This study also allowed us to understand the incidence of lethal therapeutic misadventures and to identify the medical and surgical branches more frequently involved.

Medical Malpractice: A Study of Case Histories by the Forensic Medicine Section of Bari.

DI NUNNO, Nunzio;
2004

Abstract

The learning objectives of this paper are to study the actual extent of medical malpractice, the medical acts at risk, and their impact on mortality. The number of suits filed against physicians for deaths resulting from alleged malpractice and autopsies ordered by the Judicial Authority in cases of possible therapeutic misadventures are rising. A major factor pushing this trend is public mistrust of healthcare providers and public and facilities. This mistrust is partly fueled by the mass media which, often to gain larger audience shares, sensationalizes single cases of real or alleged iatrogenic injury. Further, the potential for astronomic settlements, either from the single doctor or from the healthcare institution, has increased the number of legal proceedings that start on the basis of mere suspicion. In this context, the autopsy becomes an important instrument for shedding light on the situation, and it must be carried out by highly qualified and experienced professionals capable of ascertaining the cause of death, identifying any possible misconduct, and assessing its consequences. We reviewed the data regarding autopsies performed at the Forensic Medicine Section of the Department of Internal and Public Medicine of the University of Bari over 1991 to 2000. We culled the cases alleged malpractice and, from these, identified those in which the death had truly been caused by medical error. This study also allowed us to understand the incidence of lethal therapeutic misadventures and to identify the medical and surgical branches more frequently involved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/106089
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