The majority of claims in lawsuits related to Mohs micrographic surgery involved non-Mohs surgeons as primary defendants, according to recently publish study results.
Omar A. Ibrahimi, MD, PhD, and colleagues conducted a retrospective document review using the legal research database, WestlawNext, and including the search words Mohs and cancer in legal proceedings related to clinical surgical practice. Mohs micrographic surgery-related medical professional liability claims that included year of litigation, location, physician specialty, injury sustained, cause of legal action and verdict were the primary outcomes measured.
One hundred twenty-three documents were generated from the search, with 42 cases from 1989 to 2011 involving lawsuits that referred to Mohs micrographic surgery identified.
Non-Mohs surgeons were the primary defendants in 26 of the cases. Delay of or failure in diagnosis was the most common allegation in 16 cases, followed by cosmetic outcome issues in eight cases, lack of informed consent in seven cases and delay of or a failure in referral to a Mohs surgeons in six, according to the researchers.
In 16 cases in which Mohs surgeons were the primary defendants, the most common litigation causes were lack of proper informed consent in five cases and cosmetic outcome issues in four cases. General dermatologists were involved in 19 cases and plastic surgeons were involved in four cases.
Among the cases against Mohs surgeons, one included a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
This study is the first large-scale evaluation of Mohs surgery-related litigation, the researchers concluded. Closer coordination between non-Mohs surgeons and Mohs surgeons may help to minimize risk to both parties and lead to better patient care.
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.
Dr. Omar Ibrahimi is a leading skin cancer/mohs surgeon.