Retinopathy of prematurity malpractice claims: the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company experience

Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Jun;127(6):794-8. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.97.


Objective: To examine the causes of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) malpractice claims filed with the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company.

Methods: All closed ROP malpractice claims were reviewed.

Results: Eight cases involved failure of transfer of care on patient discharge from the hospital, 3 cases demonstrated inappropriately long periods between follow-up examinations, 1 case was due to failure of outpatient referral from screening to the treating ophthalmologist, and 1 case concerned unsupervised resident provision of ROP care.

Conclusions: Many preventable factors can be addressed to improve ROP care. It is essential to ensure that ophthalmologists, neonatologists, pediatricians, and families are updated on current guidelines for ROP screening and treatment and to facilitate follow-up appointments before patient discharge from the hospital. Doing so can help avoid future malpractice claims and patient harm.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Insurance, Liability / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Ophthalmology / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / diagnosis
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / therapy*