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Neonatal Med > Volume 22(1); 2015 > Article
Neonatal Medicine 2015;22(1):1-7.
DOI:    Published online February 28, 2015.
Medical Litigation and the Care of Newborns.
Dong Yup Lee, Jung Hee Byun, Kook In Park, So Yoon Kim, Mi Jin Lee
1Department of Pediatrics, Severance Children's Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Medical Law and Bioethics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
3Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
Recently, legal disputes resulting from medical accidents have been increasing annually. The purpose of this study is to determine the causes and characteristics of medical disputes brought as a result of neonatal accidents and to suggest measures to reduce the number of medical malpractice suits.
Twenty-eight medical malpractice lawsuits brought as a result of neonatal accidents between 2005 and 2009 were analyzed.
The average time taken to resolve these lawsuits was approximately 4.4 years. The average gestational age and birth weight of the newborns in these cases were 35.3+/-4.2 weeks and 2,668+/-931 g, respectively. Twelve cases (42.9%) were concluded partially in favor of the plaintiffs, while in 10 (35.7%) cases the plaintiffs lost. In 11 of the 12 cases that were concluded partially in favor of the plaintiffs, the defendants were found guilty of violating their duty of care. Medical accidents resulted in death in 10 cases and physical disability in 18 cases, and cerebral palsy and blindness were the most common physical disabilities. The average compensation amount ordered as damages was KRW 161,389,291+/-12,636,454.
In medical litigation, the standard of judgment is whether appropriate medical practices were performed based on the patient's symptoms. Thus, to comply with the medical treatment rules is paramount in securing patients' safety and protecting doctors themselves. Individual effort is necessary, but not sufficient to prevent medical accidents; multilateral, systemic reform is also required if the number of neonatal medical accidents is to be reduced.
Key Words: Medical litigation; Medical disputes; Medical malpractice; Care of newborns; Patient safety


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