A Century in Review: Medicolegal Implications of Facial Nerve Paralysis

Kasra Ziai, Shivam Patel, Sydnie Thomas, Tom Shokri, Jessyka G. Lighthall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: It is important to recognize factors that may mitigate the risk of a potential lawsuit and increase knowledge and awareness of physicians. Objective: To evaluate and characterize facial nerve paralysis litigation claims and related potential causes. Design, Setting, and Participants: These data were extracted from the two main computerized legal databases: WestLaw and LexisNexis. The data were queried on April 2, 2020. The records from 1919 to 2020 were obtained from a population-based setting. A total of 186 cases were included. Data were gathered for all alleged cases of facial nerve paralysis. Main Outcomes and Measures: There was a continuous rise in the amount of malpractice payments with the highest mean amount being in the past decade. Results: From 1919 to 2020, a total of 186 malpractice cases for facial nerve damage were identified. A total amount of $89,178,857.99 was rewarded to plaintiffs in 66 cases. The mean amount of paid malpractice claim was $1,351,194.80. Improper performance/treatment was the most common reason for alleged litigation (n = 97). This was followed by misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis (n = 47), and failure of informed consent (n = 34). The highest number of malpractice claims with a total of 53 cases was from 1991 to 2000. The highest mean amount per payment was in the past decade (2011-2020) with a mean of $3,841,052.68. Conclusions and Relevance: Over the past century, improper performance/procedure, delayed/misdiagnosis, and failure of informed consent were the most common reasons for litigations related to facial nerve paralysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalFacial Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

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