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May 1990

Patient Personal Injury Litigation Against Dermatology Residency Programs in the United States, 1964-1988Implications for Future Risk-Management Programs in Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Hollabaugh, Wagner, and Smith) and Pathology (Dr Weedn), the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. Dr Hollabaugh is now with Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Tex. Dr Weedn is now with the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC.

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(5):618-622. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670290062009

• A national survey reviewing patient injury litigation against US dermatology residency programs revealed that 50% of the respondents had experienced at least one lawsuit between 1964 and 1988. The northeast region reported the most legal activity. Fifty percent of the lawsuits related to therapeutic or surgical complications. Plaintiffs were successful in 37.9% of the lawsuits. The mean award was $26 505, and the largest reported award of $200 000 was for failing to diagnose herpes simplex in an immunocompromised patient. In view of several recent trends in dermatology, the amount of litigation against dermatologists may increase.

(Arch Dermatol. 1990;126:618-622)