Introduction: Danish ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians have little knowledge of the type of decisions made at the Danish National Board of Patients' Complaints (NBPC). The aim of this study was to analyze and describe the epidemiology of ENT malpractice complaints by showing their distribution and volume in order to facilitate learning and evaluate the underlying factors.
Material and methods: This retrospective register study analyzed all ENT malpractice complaints processed by the NBPC in the 1998-2008 period.
Results: In 18% of the 480 ENT malpractice complaints, the settlement resulted in criticism of one or more ENT health-care professionals. A steady increase in the number of ENT malpractice complaints was found over the study period and the total increase observed for the study period was 72%. Younger generations of ENT patients complained more and those older than 70 years complained less than the respective age groups of ENT patients treated at public hospitals. The mean incidence of ENT malpractice complaints was lowest in the Northern Jutland Region and highest in the Capital Region which was the most densely populated region. ENT departments at public hospitals receive complaints six times more frequently than ENT practicing clinics, even though the latter handle more patient contacts. The numbers of complaints and criticisms per specialist physicians at public hospitals were almost identical to those of specialist physicians serving at ENT practicing clinics.
Conclusion: An increasing trend in the number of the ENT malpractice complaints was found in the 1998-2008 period.
Funding: not relevant.
Trial registration: not relevant.