4 years ago

Reported Litigation Associated With Primary Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Greater than 75% of arthroplasty surgeons report having been the subject of a malpractice lawsuit. Despite this, few studies have analyzed the causes of litigation following total joint arthroplasty in the United States. Methods This study is a retrospective analysis of malpractice lawsuits following total hip and knee arthroplasty using VerdictSearch, a database encompassing legal cases compiled from February 1988 to May 2015. Complications leading to litigation were categorized and assessed for patient, surgeon, and lawsuit factors. All monetary awards were reflected for inflation. Results A total of 213 lawsuits were analyzed (119 total hip and 94 total knee arthroplasty cases). Overall, 15.0% of cases ended in settlement and 29.6% ended in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff (physician loss). The average payment for cases lost in court ($1,929,822 ± $3,679,572) was significantly larger than cases that ended in settlement ($555,347 ± $822,098) (P = .006). The most common complication following hip arthroplasty was “nerve injury” (29 cases, settlement rate: 10.3%, physician loss rate: 53.9%, and average payment: $1,089,825). The most common complication following knee arthroplasty was “pain or weakness” (17 cases, settlement rate: 5.9%, physician loss rate: 6.3%, and average payment: $451,867). Technical complications were the most likely complications to result in a physician loss (P = .019). Conclusion While complications like “pain and weakness” are less likely to result in favorable litigation for patients, the presence of an objective technical complication or nerve injury was associated with an increased risk of a physician loss and a higher payment.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0883540317305843

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