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Medical Malpractice Risk Factors: An Economic Perspective of Closed Claims Experience

Context: Recent research in Europe and the USA revealed that the number of patients who have experienced a medical error in healthcare has increased worryingly since the last decade, while over half of harm refers to medical errors reasonably preventable. At the same time, surveys indicate that medical errors constitute a significant financial burden on Health Care Systems.

Objectives: The aim of this paper is to present the current situation regarding the medical errors in Greece and to identify the underlying factor contributing to their presence.

Method: We performed an extensive analysis of 287 cases of medical malpractice presented in front of the Greek courts over the last 15 years. The research process included a detailed review of the case while economic and other data where recorded. Then simple descriptive statistical analysis, cross-tabs analysis, ANOVA and logistic regression analysis was applied to unveil information relevant to our research.

Results: The findings from our analysis showed that some 45% of medical errors occur during treatment while most incidents of medical error related to death (37%) or permanent disability (36%). Further, the analysis unveiled that on top of the list of specialties who are involved in cases of medical errors and with higher awarded compensation are those of General Surgery and Obstetrics - Gynecology. In Greece, unlike other countries in the world, the assessment of an overall burden of medical errors is not achievable, mainly due to the absence of any medical error reporting system.


Vozikis A, Riga M, Pollalis Y

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