Malpractice Litigation in Ocular Oncology

Stephanie B. Engelhard, Mary E. Aronow, Christopher T. Shah, Austin J. Sim, Ashvini K. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: The aim of this study was to report and analyze the causes and outcomes of ocular oncology malpractice litigation. Methods: The WestLaw® database was reviewed for all litigation related to ophthalmology in the United States from 1930 to 2014. All ocular oncology cases were included in this analysis and compared to other ophthalmic subspecialties. Results: Sixteen ocular oncology malpractice cases were included in this study. Overall, 56.3% of the cases were resolved in favor of the defendant. A total of 62.5% of cases were resolved via jury verdict, with 30.0% resulting in plaintiff verdicts with mean adjusted awards of USD 511,244.48, comparable to ophthalmology as a whole. Three cases (18.8%) resulted in settlements with mean adjusted indemnities of USD 828,928.14. A total of 87.5% of cases alleged insufficient intervention resulting in loss of vision and/or death. The most common clinical entities were uveal melanoma (31.3%), retinoblastoma (12.5%), and sebaceous cell carcinoma (12.5%). Conclusions: Ocular oncology malpractice litigation was relatively rare and outcomes generally favored defendants; however, unlike other subspecialties in ophthalmology, blindness or premature death were common to all cases, highlighting both the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment and the difficulty inherent in diagnosing ocular malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalOcular Oncology and Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Lawsuit
  • Litigation
  • Malpractice
  • Melanoma
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Sebaceous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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