Threatened and actual medical malpractice claims associated with delivery of fertility-control services are studied in a national sample of 1, 420 recently trained obstetrician-gynecologists who had been in practice an average of 3 years at the time of the survey. Nine percent of respondents report having been threatened with a fertility-control-related lawsuit, and 5.5% report being named as a defendant in such a suit. The types of services named most frequently as the basis of threatened lawsuits are sterilizations and abortions. In logistic regression analyses, variables found to significantly increase the risk of both threatened and actual lawsuits are number of years in practice and number of abortions provided during the last year of practice. Treatment of more minority patients significantly reduces the risk of both threatened and actual claims. Type of practice arrangement, physician gender, and attitudes toward physician-patient communication are among the variables found not to affect the risk of litigation. Implications for provision of fertility-control services are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health