Legal Implications for Actions Considered Iatrogenic: Knowledge and Practices of the Surgical Team, Valledupar, Cesar/Colombia

  •  Anderson Díaz-Pérez    
  •  Yeison Jair Guerra Peralta    
  •  Helen Morón Montero    
  •  Claudia Pacheco Castaño    
  •  Breiner Vergara Acosta    
  •  Tahania Chona Rodriguez    


Introduction: The errors considered iatrogenic are caused by different causes that are mostly considered foreseeable, including inaccuracy, recklessness and ignorance, all these actions with ethical-legal repercussions. In Colombia, despite not having studies that position iatrogeny as one of the main causes of death. It is estimated that in Colombia 180,000 people die each year for this reason. Iatrogeny is described in the USA as the third leading cause of death.

Objective: To evaluate the knowledge and aspects related to negligence, inexperience, recklessness, that the surgical team has in regard to its ethical-legal responsibilities.

Methodology: Descriptive cross-sectional study. A total of 93 professionals were surveyed who are part of the surgical team of two health-care institutions in the department of Cesar, Colombia during 2019.

Results: Surveyed professionals showed a 100% ignorance about the process to follow during an adverse event. It was identified that 32 % of the professionals and technicians surveyed do not have insurance to back them up legally. In addition, 31% said that errors such as negligence, recklessness and inexperience can occur in parallel with criminal and civil repercussions. The surgical team considers that the most frequent error are elements and instruments left in the cavity (oblites) in 64%.

Conclusions: For surgical personnel, negligence is the error with the greatest penal repercussion if it is related to the death of the patient, surgery on the wrong patient and wrong side of the body, in addition to oblites or foreign bodies left in the cavity.

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