An Ounce of Prevention: A Review of the Most Common Errors in OB/GYN Ultrasound Leading to Litigation and How to Avoid Them

Timothy J. Rafael, Frank A. Chervenak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The use of ultrasound in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) has become ubiquitous. As OB/GYN is a higher-risk specialty pertaining to the risk of litigation, it is no surprise that lawsuits involving ultrasound in OB/GYN are not uncommon. Errors in ultrasound are not rare, with certain types of errors seemingly more prone to litigation. Upon examination of the past 40 years of literature, it appears that the most frequent types of errors fall into one of three categories: (1) technical/procedural, (2) perception/interpretation, and (3) communication/documentation. The aim of this review is to break down the types of ultrasound errors that fall into these categories and utilize “take-home” summary points as a way of strategizing the prevention of these types of errors. Among other methods, these summary points emphasize adequate ultrasound training and continuing education, knowledge of the guidelines, ample patient counseling, effective communication with referring providers, and meticulous documentation. Upon completion of this review, it is hoped that the reader has an appreciation of the steps a practitioner can take to avoid these types of lawsuits in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-386
Number of pages7
JournalDonald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anomaly
  • Congenital heart malformations
  • Down syndrome
  • Prevention
  • Re-scanning
  • Sonography
  • Ultrasound

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