Medical Malpractice Trends in Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can place significant economic and psychologic burden on a provider. Orthopedic surgery is one of the most common subspecialties involved in malpractice claims. There is currently no study examining malpractice lawsuits within foot and ankle surgery. Accordingly, the purpose of this work is to examine trends in malpractice claims in foot and ankle surgery. The Westlaw legal database was queried for lawsuits pertaining to foot and ankle surgery from 2008 to 2018. Only cases involving medical malpractice were included for analysis. All available details pertaining to the cases were collected. This included plaintiff demographic and geographic data. Details regarding the cases were also collected such as anatomical location, pathology, complications, and case outcomes. Forty-nine malpractice lawsuits pertaining to foot and ankle were identified. Most plaintiffs in these cases were adult females, and the majority of cases occurred in the northeast (53.1%). The most common anatomical region involved in claims involved the forefoot (29%). The majority of these claims involved surgery (65%). Infection was the most common complication seen in claims (22%). The jury ruled in favor of the defendant surgeon in most cases (73%). This is the first study to examine trends in medical malpractice within foot and ankle surgery. Infection was the most frequent complication seen in claims and forefoot surgery was the most common anatomic location. A large portion of claims resulted after nonoperative treatment. A better understanding of the trends within malpractice claims is crucial to developing strategies for prevention.
Kadakia, RJ; Orland, KJ; Sharma, A; Akoh, CC; Chen, J; Parekh, SG
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