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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 20(6); 2009 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2009;20(6): 715-721.
Medical Malpractice Claims on Emergency Medical Facilities: Medicolegal Consideration Based on Judicial Precedents
Charng Won Seo, Jong Seok Lee, Oh Young Kwon, Han Sung Choi, Hoon Pyo Hong, Young Gwan Ko, Sin Chul Kim, Dong Pil Kim
1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. ygko@khu.ac.kr
2Department of Emergency Medicine, Dongsuwon General Hospital, Suwon, Korea.
ABSTRACT
PURPOSE:
To investigate which factors are associated with the causes and results of medical malpractice claims on emergency medical facilities. The study analyzed the alteration of judicial precedents between before and after 1995 when the court ruled that the burden of proof was to be placed upon the accused as well as the plaintiff.
METHODS:
We collect 213 medical malpractice claims covering from 1953 to 2008, using a database of closed claims maintained by the Supreme Court of Korea. Of the 213 claims, 31 involved emergency medical facilities. The cases were divided into 4 groups according to the physician's specialty and the causes and results of the claims were compared among each group. The causes and results were also compared between before and after 1995.
RESULTS:
In the medical department, the physicians were mainly accused in connection with mis- or delayed diagnosis. In the surgical and emergency departments, the plaintiff denounced the physician generally for neglect of duty in the emergency medical service system. The tendency of the court's ruling related to the distribution of the burden of proof has been changed after 1995 and the rate of physician legal victory in the judicial precedents has declined since then.
CONCLUSION:
Medical malpractice claims on emergency medical facilities were mostly related to misdiagnosis or emergency medical service system. Due to the change in the court's ruling regarding the distribution of the burden of proof, emergency physicians with medical malpractice claims need to change their attitude with regards to the activeness in the claims.
Key words: Malpractice, Emergency medical service, Lawsuits
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