Adverse events in cases of medical malpractice

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No-fault adverse event (AE) reporting schemes have been widely introduced to address quality issues in healthcare delivery. There is little empirical knowledge available about their interplay with malpractice case (MC) systems focusing on individual health professional responsibilities. As both systems may be triggered when healthcare goes wrong, it could be hypothesized that MCs could be often viewed as AEs. The aim of this study is to investigate the overlap between AEs and MCs through an audit of general practice MCs completed by the Danish Health Professionals' Disciplinary Board over a year from the perspective of AE analysis. Among 118 MCs, 76% (n = 90) could be classified as AEs. Regarding severity, 47 AEs belonged to the "life-threatening or disabling" category and 8 AEs resulted in death. Content analysis revealed four major AE categories, with "Interpretation of symptoms and findings" (51 AEs) and "Intervention" (25 AEs) being most common. Study findings suggest a large overlap between AEs and MCs providing a possible unexploited learning potential and add to the discussion of the medicolegal problems at the interface of the two systems.

TidsskriftMedicine and Law
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)461-476
StatusUdgivet - 1. sep. 2019

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