J Korean Orthop Assoc.  2016 Jun;51(3):246-254. 10.4055/jkoa.2016.51.3.246.

A Study on the Current Status of Medical Lawsuits in Orthopedics in Korea

  • 1Doctoral Program in Medical Law and Ethics, Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Chungbuk National University School of Medicine, Cheongju, Korea.
  • 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Armed Force Hampyeong Hospital, Hampyeong, Korea.
  • 5Department of Medical Law and Ethics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. kysoos@catholic.ac.kr


Through the analysis of orthopedics lawsuit rulings, the purpose
of this study is to understand the current trends of medical lawsuits in orthopedics in Korea.
An analysis of medical lawsuits in orthopedics was conducted. As the study method, a quantitative analysis was performed on 341 cases.
The average period of lawsuits, from the occurrence of the medical accident to end of the ruling, took an average of 4.22 years. The most frequent procedure that was the main cause of the medical accidents was surgery, at 46.3%. When surgery is the main procedure that caused the medical accidents, the result of examining the types of surgeries showed that spine surgery had the highest percentage. For the outcome of the accident, the highest number of cases resulted in disability and for the final court outcome, 40.5% ruled partially in favor of the plaintiff (the patient) with acknowledgement of only the damage incurred due to medical error of the total sum claimed, and dismissal of the claim made by the plaintiff (patient) accounted for 34.3%; 26.1% of cases develop infection. For the amount of claim for damage, the average amount of claim was 181,998,036 won; in the judgement amount, the average amount of judgement was 58,897,161 won.
The most frequent procedure in orthopedics was surgery and spine surgery comprised a large proportion of these surgeries. Future studies to determine root causes of medical accidents should be conducted to reduce medical lawsuits and to plan against the repeating of medical accidents.


medical lawsuit; medical lawsuit in orthopedics
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