​Iatrogenic Injury

prosecuting an iatrogenic injury

What is an iatrogenic injury?

Iatrogenic injury means that the doctor caused the injury. Generally it means that the procedure didn’t go well and that a technical error occurred.

Sometimes that error is an excusable known complication of the procedure and sometimes it is not. In other times there might be a debate about whether the injury was an acceptable complication or not.

Here are some examples: Lumbar disc surgery results in an injury to the bowels, which is generally thought of as an unacceptable iatrogenic injury. Lumbar disc surgery results in an injury to the iliac artery, which a debatable iatrogenic injury to some reviewers and an unacceptable injury to others. I have another case where during an arthroscopy of the knee, the popliteal artery and vein were injured. This is an unacceptable iatrogenic injury.

Acceptable iatrogenic injuries

An example of an acceptable iatrogenic injury is a durotomy during a laminectomy where there can be a tear in the dura. However, if there is an injury to the underlying nerve roots, it is generally not acceptable.

Another example of an acceptable iatrogenic injury would be a cerebral aneurysm that bursts open during a delicate dissection of the aneurysm while the neurosurgeon is employing gentle technique.