Litigation in anesthesia and intensive care units: An Italian retrospective study

Emiliano Petrucci, Alessandro Vittori, Marco Cascella, Alessandro Vergallo, Gilberto Fiore, Antonio Luciani, Barbara Pizzi, Giulia Degan, Vittorio Fineschi, Franco Marinangeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anesthesiologists consider professional insurance and its medico-legal problems as a re-markable aspect of their job. “Associazione Anestesisti Rianimatori Ospedalieri Italiani—Emergenza ed Area Critica” (AAROI-EMAC) is the Italian professional association of anesthesiologists and in-tensivists that works to train its subscribers on safety measures. This is a retrospective observational study on an insurance complaints database for anesthetic accidents that result in injuries to patients. The analyzed period runs from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2016. A total of 1309 complaints related to 873 insurance claims were analyzed. Criminal complaints comprised 805 (64.4%) of the total, and civil complaints were 445 (35.6%). The iatrogenic damage claimed included: death (58% of the cases); peripheral nerve damage (8%); spinal cord injuries (5%); unspecified injuries (7%); dental damage (4%); infections (3%); needing second surgical procedure (2%); and other injuries (13%). There is a statistical significance between the size of the hospital and the number of the claims: small hospital complaints comprised 40.1% of the cases, while complaints against medium-sized and large hospitals constituted 20.6% of the cases (χ2GL = 8 = 39.87, p = 0.00). In Italy, anesthesiologists and intensivists are often involved in litigation even when they are not directly responsible for iatrogenic injuries, and the most frequent claims in ICU are related post-operative complications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1012
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Anesthesia
  • Claim
  • Hospital
  • Intensive care
  • Litigation
  • Malpractice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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