Legal Aspects of Men's Genitourinary Health

J. Henning; S. Waxman

Disclosures

Int J Impot Res. 2009;21(3):165–170 

In This Article

Background

Urologists specialize in men's health issues along with diseases of the urinary tract. Although malpractice claims against urologists have remained steady in number over the past several decades, indemnity payments have continued to increase substantially.[2,3,4,5] One large series looking at a 19-year period showed a steady average of claims with a 191% increase in indemnity payments after correcting for inflation.[2] Injuries relating to the evaluation (30-40%) and treatment (34-43%) of the male genitourinary tract can account for a significant percentage of claims against urologists.[2,4,6] The largest review of jury verdict cases against urologists showed that the majority of men's health diagnosis-related claims were related to prostate cancer (24%), testis torsion (15%) and testis cancer (9%).[4] The majority of men's health treatment-related claims were related to prostate surgery (13%), penile prostheses (10%), vasectomy (6%) and circumcision (3%).[4] It is estimated that an urologist will be sued twice in the course of his or her career.[7] The patient safety movement will hopefully help to decrease the number of injuries due to medical error; however, many claims are a result of poor communication between the patient and health-care provider. Good communication, careful documentation and a thorough informed consent can help avoid or provide at least some defense against most claims.

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