Medical professional liability claims in Barcelona (2004-2009). Medico-legal analysis

Dolors Giménez Pérez, Amadeo Pujol-Robinat, Josep Castellá García, Anna Espinal Berenguer, Ana Vázquez Fariñas, Jordi Medallo Muñiz

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© 2019 Asociación Nacional de Médicos Forenses In recent years there has been an increase in claims against doctors for alleged malpractice. Our objective was to retrospectively analyze complaints of medical liability in the courts of Barcelona between 2004-2009, evaluated at the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Catalonia. Material and method: We used 3 databases: the first, the 283 forensic reports prepared by forensic doctors during those years; the second, the judicial computer programme TEMIS-2; and the third, a review of judicial sentences. Results: In 257 cases (90.81%) the claim was criminal, 18 (6.36%) contentious-administrative proceedings, 5 civil (1.77%) and 3 Prosecutor's Office claims (1.06%). The average age was 48.38 years (SD ± 19.39), in 62.77% the injured party was a woman, and they suffered more sequelae. In 88.34% the claim was against a doctor, a poor therapeutic outcome being the most common (32.86%). The most reported specialties were traumatology, obstetrics and gynaecology, and general surgery. There were more complaints in private healthcare. In 72.41% of the cases that came to trial the sentence was acquittal, and of the 8 convictions, only one was imprisoned. The median time to sentencing was 1,602 days. Conclusions: The criminal route is the most frequent. Women claim more and suffer more consequences. Surgical specialties are the most reported. In 27.59% of the cases that came to trial there were convictions, and only one resulted in deprivation of liberty.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRevista Espanola de Medicina Legal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Claims
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Medical malpractice
  • Patient safety
  • Professional liability


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