Analysis of medical litigations associated with keratorefractive surgery in Korea

Tae Hun Kim, Kyung Eun Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To analyze the results of court rulings regarding medical litigations involving keratorefractive surgery in Korea. Methods: We collected anonymized judgements involving keratorefractive surgery between 1990 and 2017 and analyzed the causes of medical litigations, the court rulings, reasons for compensation, and the total and average amounts finally awarded. Results: Nineteen of 31 litigations were related to laser in-situ keratomileusis, six to photorefractive keratectomy, and six to laser epithelial keratomileusis surgery. The reasons for litigation were as follows: glaucoma (8), corneal ectasia (7), infectious keratitis (5), retinal disease (2), dissatisfaction in visual outcome (2), photophobia (2), and other (5). Among the 31 cases, 17 (54.8%) litigations were decided in favor of the plaintiff; 14 (45.2%) litigations were decided against. The number of informed consent violations was 15 cases, with 13 cases for the plaintiff and two cases for the defendant, showing a statistically significant difference (p = 0.001). The cause of the lawsuit and injury type did not affect the outcome of the lawsuit. The total amount requested by the plaintiff was KRW 4,846,196,087, and the average amount was KRW 156,328,906. The total amount of damages awarded was KRW 885,804,168, and the average awarded was KRW 52,106,128. Additionally, glaucoma showed the highest total (KRW 393,121,061) and average (KRW 196,560,530) amounts of awarded damages. Conclusions: Nearly half of the lawsuits were handed down in favor of the plaintiff, with more than half involving damages in violation of informed consent. The results of this study are expected to help surgeons understand the reasons for and results of medical lawsuits regarding keratorefractive surgeries, to reduce these types of lawsuits in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Korean Ophthalmological Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. NRF-2017R1C1B1011577).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Korean Ophthalmological Society This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Glaucoma
  • Informed consent
  • Keratorefractive surgery
  • Laser in situ keratomileusis
  • Medical litigation


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