Medical professional liability claims for Mohs micrographic surgery from 1989 to 2011

Logan S. D'Souza, H. Ray Jalian, Chris Jalian, Murad Alam, Daniel B Eisen, Mathew M. Avram, Omar A. Ibrahimi

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE: Few studies specifically address lawsuits involving Mohs surgery. OBJECTIVE: To better characterize the types of medical professional liability claims involving Mohs surgery. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective legal document review of an online national database. Any legal proceeding involving the search words Mohs and cancer was included. MAINOUTCOMESAND MEASURES: Number of medical professional liability claims involving Mohs surgery for factors including year of litigation, location, physician specialty, injury sustained, cause of legal action, and verdict. RESULTS: Forty-two cases were identified, which occurred from 1989 to 2011. Of the cases identified, 26 involved non-Mohs surgeons as the primary defendant, mostly due to a delay of or failure in diagnosis (n = 16), cosmetic outcome issues (n = 8), lack of informed consent (n = 7), and a delay of or failure in referral to a Mohs surgeon (n = 6). Common causes for litigation against Mohs surgeons as the primary defendant (n = 16) were lack of proper informed consent (n = 5) and cosmetic outcome issues (n = 4). Only 1 case against a Mohs surgeon was judged for the plaintiff. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The most common lawsuits pertaining to Mohs surgery list non-Mohs surgeonsasthe primary defendants. Closer coordination between non-Mohs surgeons and Mohs surgeons may help minimize risk to both parties and lead to better patient care. Small sample size is the primary limitation, in part owing to exclusion of out-of-court settlements from the database.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-532
Number of pages4
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Volume151
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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D'Souza, L. S., Jalian, H. R., Jalian, C., Alam, M., Eisen, D. B., Avram, M. M., & Ibrahimi, O. A. (2015). Medical professional liability claims for Mohs micrographic surgery from 1989 to 2011. JAMA Dermatology, 151(5), 529-532. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.4495