Legal aspects in patients with complications and sequelae after rhinological surgery

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. In time, the field of surgery has developed, introducing new techniques for old diseases. Along with this evolution, postoperative complications occurred and patients denounced doctors for insufficient medical care or inappropriate surgical approach. We observed an increased number of reclamations from patients who underwent rhinological surgery. All of those patients considered that medical care and the surgical act were improper, with poor outcome.

MATERIAL AND METHODS. The purpose of our presentation is to sum all the causes that motivate the patients to formulate claims and to start the legal prosecution, in order to obtain financial compensation and the doctor’s conviction. We included all the patients who referred to our clinic (even if they were first treated by us or another surgical team), complaining of postoperative: persistent purulent rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, crusts, cacosmia or anosmia, epistaxis, epiphora, unaesthetic nasal aspect. Some of these patients, before or after receiving our care, denounced the initial caregiver.

RESULTS. Their main complaints involved poor preoperative notifications regarding the surgical method, risks and potential complications, extensive surgery, wrong surgical indication, inexperienced surgical team, poor postoperative care. Even if they were first treated in our clinic or not, these patients received medical and surgical care to correct all the negative post operatory outcomes. Some of the patients still pursued the legal pathway, engaging all the resources to prove doctor’s medical guilt.

CONCLUSION. To avoid medico-legal situations, guidelines need to be established for the ENT surgeons, in order to confer a healthier work environment with minimum risks and complications.

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