INTRODUCTION: This study aims to investigate causes of malpractice claims in head and neck practices in order to create more awareness and to prevent future claims.
METHODS: The database of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine (NIFM) was retrospectively reviewed between March 2005 and August 2017 and 219 malpractice cases related to the head and neck practices were found.
RESULTS: Of the 219 cases 122 (55.7%) were female and 97 (44.3%) were male. Of these cases, 194 were related to surgical procedures and 25 were related to non-surgical procedures. The most procedures included thyroidectomy, followed by tonsillectomy and open neck biopsy. The most frequent causes of claims were dyspnea (n=53) and dysphonia (n=49) after thyroidectomy. Of the 219 cases, 57 (26%) received a unanimous verdict of 'malpractice' (deciding in favor of plaintiffs) by the NIFM grand jury. No delinquency was found in the other 162 cases (74%).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Physicians should be educated in the medicolegal aspects of malpractice and awareness should be raised accordingly. Despite the increasing number of studies, further research, collaboration with jurists and a universal language are required.