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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Complications and patient-injury after ankle fracture surgery. -A closed claim analysis with data from the Patient Compensation Association in Denmark

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BACKGROUND: The Patient Compensation Association (PCA) receives claims for financial compensation from patients who believe they have sustained damage from their treatment in the Danish health care system. In this study, we have analysed closed claims in which patients suffered injuries due to the surgical treatment of their ankle fracture. We identified causalities contributing to these injuries and malpractices, as well as the economic consequences of these damages.

METHODS: Fifty-one approved closed claims from the PCA database from the years 2004-2009 were analysed in a retrospective systematic review. All patients were adults with an iatrogenic injury, and received compensation. A root cause analysis was performed to identify whether the patient suffered the damage preoperatively, during surgery or postoperatively, and to determine the level of education of the injurious doctor. Economic compensation, co-morbidities and end-result complications were registered.

RESULTS: In 9 of the cases the injuries happened preoperatively, but the majority of the injuries, namely 34 occurred during surgery. In 21 of the cases the damage happened postoperatively. Thirty percentages of the patients were mistreated in more than one phase. Level of competence was medical specialists in 2/3 and junior doctors in 1/3 of the cases. In the preoperative phase both groups were equally responsible for the inflicted damage. In the perioperative- and postoperative group, medical specialists inflicted the majority of damages. General recommendations regarding ORIF were not followed in 21/49 of the perioperative damages. The pronation fracture was the most common. The patients received a total average compensation of 17.561 USD each.

CONCLUSION: Managing the complex ankle fracture, requires considerable experience. This study indicates that extra attention should be paid to the most technically demanding fractures as the pronation-external-rotation-, diabetic- and fragility fractures. Surgeons should follow the recommendations for ORIF. Emphasis should also focus on adequate postoperative plans. This study finds a high readmission-burden, re-operation rate and great expenses in form of compensation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInjury
Volume49
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)430-436
ISSN0020-1383
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52077679