International Journal of Health Research and Innovation

Trends in Medical Malpractice in the Private Health Sector in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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  • Abstract

    PURPOSE: About 10% of patients around the world are affected by medical malpractice. Understanding the causes of medical malpractice and its distribution over different medical specialties in Saudi Arabia’s private health sector is important for policy makers to institute control measures as the country undergoes privatization of its health sector. This study assessed the trend in medical malpractice in the private health sector in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia during a five-year period, 2011—2015, and its distribution by medical specialties and health professional-related characteristics.

    METHODS: A descriptive secondary data analysis was performed on medical practice cases occurring in the private health sector and reported by the Medical Jurisprudence Committee (MJC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during 2011—2015.

    RESULTS: 368 medical malpractice cases were reported to the MJC from 2011—2015.The trend of medical errors fluctuated during this period.13.6 % of cases resulted in deaths. Obstetrics and gynecology contributed the highest number of cases. Based on a larger presence in the workforce, a larger percentage of defendants were male (70%).The average duration of the lawsuit in the MJC was 15.2 months.

    CONCLUSION: This study provides a characterization of the pattern of malpractice cases and their distribution by medical specialty, health facility and health professional-related characteristics in the private health sector. This data may be useful for policy makers to institute appropriate control measures that ensure a high-quality delivery of health care.

    Keywords: Medical Malpractice, Lawsuit, Plaintiff, Medico-legal Committee, Medical Jurisprudence Committee, Verdict.