Using Candello data, CRICO analysts collaborated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers to characterize the factors in liability cases involving breast cancer surgery to identify areas for quality improvement.

A total of 174 malpractice cases were reviewed, of which 41 cases were closed with payment. Plastic surgeons were most commonly named (64%, 111/174), followed by general surgeons (30%, 53/174), and surgical oncologists (6%, 10/174). The most common allegation was error in surgical treatment (87%, 152/174), and infection, cosmetic injury, emotional trauma, foreign body, and nosocomial infections represented the top five injury descriptions. On average, indemnity payments were larger for high clinical severity cases. Technical skills, followed by clinical judgment, were the most commonly named contributing factors. The average payment per case was $130,422.

The malpractice cases predominantly involved technical complications related to plastic surgery procedures. Better understanding of the malpractice environment involving surgical procedures performed for breast cancer may provide practical insight to guide initiatives aimed at improving patient outcomes.

Read the full-text study in the peer-review journal, Annals of Surgical Oncology.

surgeryMalpractice cases in breast surgery: An assessment of litigation involving surgeons.

Fan B, Pardo J, Yu-Moe CW, Janes M, Falcone B, Valero MG, Serres SK, Emhoff I, James TA. Malpractice cases in breast surgery: An assessment of litigation involving surgeons. Annals of Surgical Oncology.2021 December;28:8109–8115. (Subscription may be required.)

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