Medical Malpractice and Vestibular Schwannomas: A Nationwide Review

Edward R. Bader, Andre Boyke, Mohammed A. Alvi, Atharv Sethi, Abigail Funari, Vijay Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Most surgeons face litigation related to the care of their patients, with specialties including neurosurgery facing a particularly high risk. Diagnosis and management of vestibular schwannomas can be challenging, potentially giving rise to medicolegal proceedings. Accordingly, a full appreciation of the medicolegal implications of treating these challenging tumors is warranted. Methods: A systematic search of the Westlaw Edge legal database was conducted to identify all cases of medicolegal proceedings related to the management of vestibular schwannomas. All cases identified by the search were screened in full, and relevant cases included for analysis. Variables pertaining to the nature of the case and legal outcomes were extracted. Results: A total of 38 cases were included in this analysis from 11 U.S. states. Failure to diagnose and negligent surgery were the most common allegations. Neurosurgeons were the most frequently implicated specialists followed by otolaryngologists and radiologists. A verdict was reached in 30 cases, with the jury finding in favor of the defendant(s) in most cases (n = 26, 87.0%), a proportion that increased across each decade of the study period. Damages were paid out in 11 cases, with a mean value of $1,534,446. Mean value of damages paid in verdicts in favor of the plaintiff were larger than those in settlements ($2,116,543 and $1,385,457, respectively). Conclusions: The data presented provide a comprehensive overview of medicolegal proceedings related to the management of vestibular schwannomas. This study provides clinicians with a greater appreciation of the medicolegal implications of treating vestibular schwannomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e714-e726
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Volume150
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Litigation
  • Malpractice
  • Medicolegal
  • Negligence
  • Skull base
  • Vestibular schwannoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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