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Medical liability litigation in Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Al-Saeed Abdulhamid

Journal: Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia
ISSN 1658-354X

Volume: 4;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 122;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Anesthesia | malpractice | medical litigation

Background: The author analyzed the anesthesia medical malpractice closed claims that were referred to the Legal Health Organization (LHO) in order to evaluate the magnitude and underlying factors of the problem in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: Annual reports covering the period from 1420H-1429H (1999-2008) were statistically analyzed to give mean figures and percentages in each annual report, and then demonstrated all together to run the differential analysis together with the trend along the studied period. Results: Data analysis showed an escalating trend for the total number of claims over the study period being started with 440 cases on 1420H and ended with 1356 cases by the year 1429H. The annual percentage of the final verdicts of accusation to the total number of claims presented to all committees ranges between 45.5%−60.2% with a mean value of 49.9%. Distribution of final verdicts among different clinical specialities showed that obstetrics takes the lead with a mean percentage of 25.5% along the studied period (1420H-1429H), followed by the practice of general surgery with a mean percentage of 13.8%. The sector of health care service showed a significant variation in relation to the mean number of final verdicts with accusation along the studied period, being the highest in the Ministry of Health sector with a mean number of 216.8 claims, followed by the private sector with a mean number of 197.3 claims. Conclusion: Adherence to the standards of medical practice is by far to the best approach to avoid and reduce the incidence of litigation.
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