Introduction Adverse clinical events can lead to patients seeking compensation citing medical negligence. Endoscopy is not risk free and complications are well documented. Information regarding claims in endoscopy is scarce and little is known about the causes for legal redress. This study aimed to investigate the nature of medico-legal claims in relation to endoscopy in the National Health Service.
Methods The National Health Service Litigation Authority’s(NHSLA) database was searched for Endoscopy claims between the year of 2010/11 to 2014/2015 using the terms "Endoscopy", "Gastroscopy", "Colonoscopy", "Sigmoidoscopy", "ERCP" and "Capsule Endoscopy" through a Freedom of Information Request (F/2405). Causes for the claims and nature of the procedures were then analysed.
Results A total of 151,23, 118, 35, 43 and 72 claims were recorded with the terms Endoscopy, Gastroscopy, Colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, PEG and ERCP in the incident descriptions. Only one case involving Capsule Endoscopy was noted. Claims relating to Infection control and Hospital hygiene topped the list, followed by a failure or delay in diagnosing a condition. Claims also centred on incidents during endoscopy, along with a failure to adequately take an informed consent. Inadequate nursing care was a significant factor in claims relating to PEG procedures.
Conclusion This study shows that the majority of claims pertain to Colonoscopy or ERCP. Infection Control and Failure to diagnose and treat conditions are important causes for litigation.Capsule Endoscopy appears to be relatively risk free.Endoscopist should bear these factors in mind when obtaining consent and undertaking procedures.Further studies are required for a more detailed analysis of litigation in endoscopy to ensure safer medical practice and patient care.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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