Medical Malpractice Cases in Italy: How We Can Protect Ourselves

Despite the Italian National Health System (SSN) being world-class excellence, every year in Italy there are cases related to medical malpractice. First of all, medical malpractice is defined as a medical error or omission of treatment committed by a doctor or medical staff as a result of damage, injury, or loss of a patient.

According to Sportello Legale Sanità, (Listening legal help desk) a company that deals with protecting Italian patient’s rights, every year in Italy there are 300,000 pending lawsuits against doctors and health facilities are investigated. In addition, there are 35,000 annual requests for compensations of biological damage, or injuries that often evolve into a permanent disability or death.

 The most common types of medical errors include: plastic surgery (38.4%), diagnostic errors (20.7%), therapeutics mistakes(10.8%) and, hospital-acquired infection (6.7%). 

The highest numbers of accidents happen at the Orthopedics and Traumatology Ward: (20.3%), general surgery (12.9%), first aid (12.6%), and obstetrics and gynecology (10.9%).

Geographically, the areas in where medical malpractice is frequent are the South and the Islands with 44.5% of cases, followed by North Italy with 32,2% and the Center of Italy with 23.2%.

Among the main causes of errors made by doctors and nurses, are the low number of beds for patients and the lack of nurses.

According to OECD data, we have 3.2 beds per 1,000 inhabitants, a considerable gap if we consider that countries such as Germany and France have respectively 7.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants and 5.8 beds. per 1,000 inhabitants. And to think that in 1975 Italy had nearly 10.6 beds per 1,000 inhabitants!

Regarding the lack of nurses according to the OECD, in Italy, there are 5.8 per 1,000 inhabitants, a very low number compared to Germany (12.9), the United Kingdom (7.8), and France ( 10.8).

What is the main cause of medical malpractice?

Unfortunately, the main cause is the low share of government health expenditure in Italy. According to a Eurostat report (specify the year), Italy was classified 12th place in terms of the percentage of GDP invested in health expenditure, equal to 8.7% of GDP. Once again the gap is wide compared with the main EU countries, such as Germany (11.7% of GDP), France (11.1% of GDP), and Spain (9.1% of GDP).

Fortunately, we have many solutions to protect our health: insurance policies and packages.

There are various health insurance packages, such as ad hoc policies to ensure concrete economic support for the family in the event that a painful event causes the premature death of the insured.

There are also solutions to protect you and your loved ones from all kinds of unforeseen events, such as injuries and illness; and policies that ensure financial support in the event of loss of self-sufficiency, a problem that afflicts 3 million Italians.

Medical malpractice is a problem that we hope to reduce considerably, in the meantime we can protect our health and that of your loved ones through insurance, for a safer and more peaceful future.

If you want more information, do not hesitate to contact us!