Medicolegal Matters involving a Major Obstetric and Gynaecological Teaching Hospital


3 The Boulevard. East Ivanhoe 3079, Victoria, Australia.


Summary: Review of medicolegal files held by the Royal Women's Hospital. Melbourne confirms that during the last 25 years there has been a marked increase in the number of claims for compensation brought by patients who believe that the care they received was inadequate; thus 4 claims for compensation were received during the first 5 years of the study period and 29 claims in the last 5 years. Complaints about service provision resulted in a claim for compensation in 29.7% of cases in which the dissatisfied client was represented by a legal firm and in 6.25% of cases where the initial approach was made through the Health Services Commission. One half of all claims for compensation were received in response to perceived complications of birth, surgery or treatment of a premature baby.