Medical Malpractice in Chile: Rulings of the Supreme Court of Justice 2017

2019 • Volume 13 • Issue 3

Lidia A. Bravo R. & Denisse A. Lagos T.



The objective of the present study is to characterize the epidemiologic and juridical data for medical malpractice cases ruled by the Chilean Supreme Court (CSC) in 2017, to highlight the high risk scenarios, as a contribution to their prevention. A search of the CSC electronic database was conducted to identify and analyze CSC rulings for medical malpractice cases. In this study 61 malpractice cases ruled by CSC were identified. The CSC received only civil cases of medical malpractices during the studied period. The average duration of the trial was 41.9 months. Gynecologists faced suits and received sentences more frequently than any other type of specialist. The majority of prosecuted cases and convictions were associated with the public health system. A greater number of claims were related to emergency care than with scheduled procedures. Likewise, more claims were associated with non-surgical treatment than with surgical procedures. 54.8 % of all cases resulted in the patient’s death. Half of the cases that lead to conviction, were related to the death of a patient. Risk factors should be investigated, not only of the occurrence of malpractice, but also of the judicial process of doctor-patient conflicts, especially in the obstetrics and gynecology area, including the analysis of cases of prior judicial instances. The risk factors for the higher propensity of male professionals to be prosecuted and convicted for medical malpractice should also be investigated.

KEY WORDS: supreme court decisions, medical malpractice, defensive medicine, medical litigation.


How to cite this article

BRAVO, R. L A. & LAGOS, T. D. A. Medical Malpractice in Chile: Rulings of the Supreme Court of Justice 2017. Int. J. Odontostomat., 13(3):367-373, 2019.


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