Year : 2007  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4

Status of medical liability claims in Saudi Arabia

Anaesthesia Department, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, PO 7805 internal 41, Code 11472, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Abdulhamid Al-Saeed
Anaesthesia Department, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, PO 7805 internal 41, Code 11472
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: The author analyzed the medical malpractice litigation that was referred to the National Medico-legal Committee in order to evaluate the magnitude and underlying factors of the problem in Saudi Arabia. Patients and Methods: Retrospective analysis of the official records of Medico-legal malpractice claims over the period 1420H-1424H (1999-2003) was performed. The incidence among different medical specialties, location, and final resolution of each claim were identified. Results: Data analysis revealed an increasing trend of the total number of claims over the study period with a sharp increase in the transition between 1422H and 1423H (2001-2002). The distribution of claims over different medical specialties showed that Obstetrical practice took the lead with 27%, followed by general surgery and subspecialties being represented by 17% each, internal medicine 13%, while pediatrics contributes 10% of the claims, being the least of all is dentistry with 2.5%. The majority of claims were referred to Ministry of Health and Private sectors medical facilities. Most claims were from Riyadh region over the period between 1420H - 1422H (1999-2001), while thereafter on 1423 and 1424H (2002 and 2003) the Holy Capital represents the highest number of claims being referred to the Medico-legal Committee. Conclusion: Adherence to the standards of medical practice is by far to the best approach to avoid or reduce the incidence of litigation.

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