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Korean J Anesthesiol > Volume 47(3); 2004 > Article
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology 2004;47(3):389-392.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4097/kjae.2004.47.3.389   
Medical Malpractice: What is the Difference between an Anesthesiologist and a Lawyer.
Young Don Min, Il Ok Lee, Ji Tae Choung
1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea. iloklee@korea.ac.kr
2Medical Law Institute, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
Medical malpractice requires the establishment of the following elements: responsibility for the patient, a breach in the standard of care, causation, and damages. Anesthetic outcomes are complex and involve surgeons, anesthesiologists, and hospitals. Anesthesiologists think that medical malpractice cases are brought regardless of the quality of care, we undertook to examine if this perception is right.
Ten malpractice cases that involved surgeons, anesthesiologists, neonatalogists, and hospitals were randomly selected from a legal database. Case summaries were sent to forty personal criminal lawyers or professors of law, forty anesthesiologists, and a control group of forty middle or high school teachers with a questionnaire asking if malpractice had occurred.
There were significant differences between anesthesiologists and lawyers in two cases (case 1 and 10). There was no significant difference between the lawyers and the control group. There was a significant difference between anesthesiologists and the control group in case 1 only. There were significant differences among these three professional groups in two cases as same as between anesthesiologists and lawyers. No significant difference was found between groups for the other eight cases. All three groups disagreed with the legal outcomes in cases 2 and 3.
Lawyers and anesthesiologists did not demonstrate a systematic bias in eight cases. But, determined medical malpractice outcome differently in two cases. There was disagreement between the study groups and the legal outcome in two cases.
Key Words: anesthesiologist; lawyer; malpractice; questionnaire
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