Epidemiology of malpractice lawsuits in paediatrics

Acta Paediatr. 2008 Nov;97(11):1486-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.00898.x. Epub 2008 Jun 6.


A systematic review of malpractice lawsuits involving children identified six articles and 227 cumulative paediatric published cases. The prevalence of medical lawsuits resulting in payment to plaintiff was found to be 50% less frequent than that in adults. The most frequent and severe errors were among infants, including diagnostic errors of meningitis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. The most implied unit was emergency department (58%). The patients and/or families were compensated in 23- 68% of cases.

Conclusion: These data can increase physicians' awareness of disorders and age groups at high risk of medical errors. This could lead to minimize the risk of medical malpractices and to improve patient safety.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pediatrics / legislation & jurisprudence*