Medical malpractice claims in laparoscopic gynecologic surgery: a Dutch overview of 20 years

Evelien M. Sandberg*, Esmee M. Bordewijk, Desiree Klemann, Sara R. C. Driessen, Andries R. H. Twijnstra, Frank Willem Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The success of newly introduced surgical techniques is generally primarily assessed by surgical outcome measures. However, data on medical liability should concomitantly be used to evaluate provided care as they give a unique insight into substandard care from patient's point of view. The aim of this study was to analyze the number and type of medical claims after laparoscopic gynecologic procedures since the introduction of advanced laparoscopy two decades ago. Secondly, our objective was to identify trends and/or risk factors associated with these claims.

To identify the claims, we searched the databases of the two largest medical liability mutual insurance companies in The Netherlands (MediRisk and Centramed), covering together 96% of the Dutch hospitals. All claims related to laparoscopic gynecologic surgery and filed between 1993 and 2015 were included.

A total of 133 claims met our inclusion criteria, of which 54 were accepted claims (41%) and 79 rejected (59%). The number of claims remained relatively constant over time. The majority of claims were filed for visceral and/or vascular injuries (82%), specifically to the bowel (40%) and ureters (20%). More than one-third of the injuries were entry related (38%) and 77% of the claims were filed after non-advanced procedures. A delay in diagnosing injuries was the primary reason for financial compensation (33%). The median sum paid to patients was a,notsign12,000 (500-848,689). In 90 claims, an attorney was defending the patient (83% for the accepted claims; 57% for the rejected claims).

The number of claims remained relatively constant during the study period. Most claims were provoked by bowel and ureter injuries. Delay in recognizing injuries was the most encountered reason for granting financial compensation. Entering the abdominal cavity during laparoscopy continues to be a potential dangerous step. As a result, gynecologists are recommended to thoroughly counsel patients undergoing any laparoscopic procedure, even regarding the risk of entry-related injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5418-5426
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical endoscopy and other interventional techniques
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Medical claims
  • Laparoscopic gynecologic surgery
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Laparoscopic entry-related injuries
  • Bowel and ureter complications

Cite this