Why is informed consent so important? Research presented in 2007 found that between 1985 and 2005, 37% of all malpractice claims involving endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) also involved informed consent (Am J Rhinol. 2007;21:584-590). Furthermore, the researchers found that 16% of all otolaryngology malpractice claims centered on informed consent. More recently, of the 48,589 malpractice claims reported to the PIAA (formerly known as the Physician Insurers Association of America) Data Sharing Project between 2010 and 2014, 12,865 (28%) resulted in payment to the plaintiff. Additionally, 740 named an otolaryngologist in the claim, with 298 (40%) of those resulting in payment to the plaintiff.
“It is higher than what the broader community is, which prompts us to ask what variables contribute to these cases resulting in higher payment,” said Divya Parikh, MPH, PIAA’s vice president of research and risk management.
The numbers only get worse for surgical procedures that involve the nasal region. Malpractice claims reported to the PIAA for these procedures over the five-year period from 2010 through 2014 totaled 311, and approximately half of those resulted in payment.