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Medical malpractice is a global problem which can have considerable financial and legal consequences for the community as well as personal consequences for those involved. Austria does not record any statistical and epidemiological data concerning medical malpractice cases. Data from 7,211 autopsy cases from the Department of Forensic Medicine in Vienna covering the period from 1990 to 2000 were analyzed. Fifty-five autopsy reports that were filed as suspected medical malpractice were recorded and analyzed. Thirty cases were classified as surgical incidents, 19 cases as negligence, and 6 cases as medication incidents. Out of a total of 40 cases from available court files, 36 cases were dropped, there were 2 acquittals and only two resulted in convictions. The number of instances of medical malpractice leading to iatrogenic deaths in Austria seems to be very low in comparison to other countries. The possibility that many cases go unnoticed needs to be taken into consideration.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical University, Vienna, Austria.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Wiener klinische Wochenschrift
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