Surgical Resident Study & The General Surgery Expert
Male surgeon tying mask at operating room

In the JAMA Surgery article Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Involving Surgical Residents, the question “Why do medical malpractice lawsuits targeting surgical trainees occur and how can they be prevented?” is addressed (JAMA Surg. published online August 30, 2017). This review of malpractice cases involving surgical residents focused on the perioperative medical knowledge and decision making of surgical trainees and junior residents.

In a review of the US legal literature for malpractice cases involving surgical residents during a 10-year period, Cornelius A. Thiels, DO, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues identified 87 malpractice cases citing direct involvement of a surgical intern, residents, or fellow, with nearly half of the cases resulting in a jury verdict or settlement in favor of the plaintiff.. The payouts for these cases, the researchers report in an article published online today in JAMA Surgery, range from $1852 to $32 million, with a median of $900,000…

Insufficient direct supervision by attending physicians was deemed a contributing factor in 48 of the malpractice claims. In 10 of these cases, “the attending physician’s failure to appropriately supervise part of an operation in person was cited,” the authors write. “Three cases claimed that intraoperative injuries were the result of residents becoming anatomically ‘lost’ without an attending physician present.” All 10 cases resulted in a judgment in favor of the patient, they note.

Researchers found that from 2005 to 2015, in malpractice cases involving surgical residents, general surgery had the most claims (54%), followed by orthopedics (21%), gynecologic surgery (13%), urologic surgery (5%), neurosurgery (5%), oral surgery (2%), and otolaryngology (1%).

The study stressed the importance of perioperative management and the importance of appropriate supervision by attending physicians in order to prevent litigation. General surgeons are responsibe for the preoperative, operative, and postoperative management of patients with a broad spectrum of diseases. When medical negligence is alleged, the physician is charged with failing to meet the standard of care. The general surgery expert witness with broad knowledge and experience in their medical field is an essential member of your litigation team. Contact ELITE Medical Experts to find an expert witness handpicked to meet your exact needs.

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