A description of emergency department-related malpractice claims in The Netherlands: closed claims study 1993-2001.
until further notice
SourceEuropean Journal of Emergency Medicine, 11, 5, (2004), pp. 247-250
Article / Letter to editor
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European Journal of Emergency Medicine
SubjectUMCN 4.3: Tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the quality of care provided at emergency departments (ED) in the Netherlands by analysing medical liability insurance claims. METHODS: A retrospective study performed by reviewing records at MediRisk, presently the largest insurer for medical liability in the Netherlands. The following data were abstracted from the files available for analysis: medical discipline involved, physician involved (resident or consultant), nature and gravity of the complaint, and final claim disposition. RESULTS: Between 1993 and 2001 a total of 326 claims involving the ED were filed at MediRisk. Of these, 256 claims (79%) were closed and were available for analysis. Medical liability claims were filed primarily for alleged errors in diagnosis and treatment. The majority of claims involved minor surgical conditions: fractures, luxations (joint dislocations), wounds and tendon injuries (210/256, 82%). Residents were involved in 76% of the claims; resident supervision by a consultant was documented in only 15% of the medical records. Permanent patient disability resulting from improper ED treatment was alleged in 22% of the claims. Four per cent of the claims involved the death of a patient. Physicians accepted liability in 16% of the claims filed. Indemnity payments during the 8-year study period totalled Euros 504,000. CONCLUSION: The number of medical liability claims is low compared with the number of patients treated in ED in the Netherlands. Claims primarily concerned alleged mistakes in diagnosis and the treatment of minor trauma. Residents were involved in the majority of the claims. More resident supervision is needed, as are specific training programmes for emergency physicians.
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