Malpractice Litigation in Iatrogenic Ureteral Injury: a Legal Database Review

Enterprise-wide, Value-based, Evaluation of Notable Therapies in Urologic Surgery (EVENTUS) working group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the factors associated with iatrogenic ureteral injury litigation and outcomes. Methods: The Westlaw legal database was queried for all iatrogenic ureteral injury cases. Variables extracted included available clinical factors, method of settlement, and litigation outcomes. Linear regression analysis was conducted to examine factors associated with award amount. Results: A total of 522 cases from 1961 to 2019 were included in the study. The most common specialty named was gynecology (353/512, 68.9%), followed by urology (89/512, 17.4%). The most common claim was intraoperative negligence (474/522 cases, 90.8%). Fifty two cases were settled or arbitrated and 470 went to trial. Settlement or arbitration was more likely in cases involving institution-only defendant (15.4% vs 7.3%, P< .01), academic institution (19.7% vs 7.1%, P < .01), and patient death (42.9% vs 10.7%; P < .001). Of cases that went to trial, the verdict favored the defendant in 339/470 cases (72.1%). The median award was $552,822.96 (interquartile range 187,007-1,063,603). Duration of temporary drainage ($5050/day, P = .02), delayed repair (P = .03), claim of inadequate workup (P = .03), and claim of failure to supervise trainee (P < .001) were significantly associated with increasing award amount. Conclusion: The majority of ureteral injury litigation ruled in favor of the defendant. However, when awarded, the amount was substantial and correlated with drainage duration, delayed repair, claim of inadequate workup, and failure to supervise trainee. These findings highlight factors perceived to be associated with significant distress and reflect trends in medicolegal decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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