Year : 2021  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-100

The status of medical malpractice litigations in Saudi Arabia: Analysis of the annual report

1 Urology Division, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Division of Urology, King Abdulaziz Medical City; College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Mana Almuhaideb
College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_908_20

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Context: Medical malpractice is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Analyzing the current number of lawsuits and comparing it to previous years will help assess the status of medical malpractice litigations in Saudi Arabia. Subjects and Methods: A review and analysis of the annual statistics book of the Medico-Legal Committees (MLCs) in Saudi Arabia over the years (1437–1439 H) was conducted. Results: Over the 3-year study period, the total number of lawsuits was 3,684. The percentage of increase of malpractice lawsuits from 1437 until 1439 Hijri (2016–2018) was 26% (1,097–1,379 lawsuits). Obstetrics and Gynecology consistently had the highest number lawsuits compared to other specialties (25.6%), followed by dentistry (13.5%). Similarly, the rate of compensation after a lawsuit was highest in Obstetrics and Gynecology claims (62.7%), followed by dentistry (60%). The private healthcare sector consistently showed the highest number of lawsuits when compared to other healthcare providers, with a 73% increase over 3 years. The Ministry of Health showed an overall reduction in the number of lawsuits by 6.6% over the course of the study period. Conclusions: The number of lawsuits in Saudi Arabia is increasing rapidly. Understanding the reason for this is very important especially given the high rates of lawsuits for certain specialties and healthcare sectors. A root cause analysis cannot be conducted without a detailed reporting system for malpractice lawsuits; the development of which would help in research and the generation of solutions in this field.

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