Postoperative infections are rare after plastic surgery; however, when present, they can affect the aesthetic outcome. Currently, many malpractice lawsuits are associated with surgical site infection. The present study aimed to analyze malpractice claims associated with surgical site infection in the field of plastic surgery through a review of Korean precedents. We analyzed the type of procedure, associated complications, and legal judgment in these cases. Most claimants were women, and claims were most often related to breast surgery. The common complications related to surgical site infection were deformity, scar, and asymmetry. Among the 40 cases, 34 were won by the plaintiff, and the mean claim settlement was 2,832,654 KRW (USD 2,636.6). The reasons for these judgements were as follows: 1) immediate bacterial culture tests were not performed and appropriate antibiotics were not used; 2) patients were not transferred to a high-level hospital or the infection control department was not consulted; 3) surgical site infection control measures were not appropriate; and 4) surgical procedures were performed without preoperative explanation about surgical site infection. The number of claims owing to surgical site infection after surgery is increasing. Infection handling was one of the key factors that influenced the judgement, and preoperative explanation about the possibility of infection is important. The findings will help surgeons achieve high patient satisfaction and reduce liability concerns.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.
- Malpractice Litigation
- Nosocomial Infection
- Plastic Surgery
- Surgical Site Infection