Complaints and lawsuits against obstetricians and gynaecologists – results of a survey conducted by questionnaire

Authors: T. Glosová 1;  D. Cibula 2
Authors‘ workplace: Gynekologicko-porodnická klinika, Nemocnice Na Bulovce, Praha, přednosta doc. MUDr. M. Zikán, Ph. D. SNGP ;  Gynekologicko-porodnické oddělení, Oblastní nemocnice Příbram, primář MUDr. P. Chudáček 1;  Gynekologicko-porodnická klinika 1. LF UK a VFN, Praha, přednosta prof. MUDr. A. Martan, DrSc. SNGP 2
Published in: Ceska Gynekol 2018; 83(4): 312-318


Objective: Complaints and lawsuits (criminal and civil) directed against obstetricians and gynaecologists and their effect on medical practice.

Design: Survey by means of questionnaire.

Setting: Random selection of obstetricians and gynaecologists throughout the Czech Republic.

Methodology: Research was conducted in the form of a personal questionnaire (Face-to-Face). A structured questionnaire was used for the survey which was conducted by QuintilesIMS (now trading as IQVIA). 203 randomly selected doctors were interviewed. The survey took place in December 2016.

Results: Of the doctors interviewed, 47% were outpatient gynaecologists, 35% were hospital-based and 18% worked part-time (both outpatient and hospital-based). In the last five years, 28% of respondents had to deal with a complaint lodged against them, 7% were prosecuted under criminal law and 28% faced a civil lawsuit against either their hospital or outpatient clinic. In 65% of these cases, the provision of medical care was affected, and in 79% of cases, the mental and physical well-being of respondents was impaired. In 33% of cases, it led to doctors leaving their department. Seventy-eight percent of respondents believe that legal protection for doctors and nurses is not sufficient in the Czech Republic, and 37% think complaints have a negative effect on the quality of medical care. In the case of criminal lawsuits, 39% of doctors (and 50% of hospital doctors) interviewed believe that it has a negative effect on the quality of medical care.

Conclusion: This research provides an insight into the issue of complaints and lawsuits in obstetrics and gynaecology in Czech Republic. Obstetricians and gynaecologists believe that the complaints process and lawsuits are overused by patients and that legal protection of health care professionals is inadequate, which in turn substantially affects medical care. According to the obstetricians and gynaecologists who participated in the survey, it leads to loss of morale in the workplace, adversely affects both the mental and physical wellbeing of doctors, worsens the quality of care provided and causes doctors to leave their department – which may be one of the reasons for the shortage of obstetricians in the Czech Republic.

Keywords: complaints, lawsuits, criminal and civil lawsuits and actions, malpractice, gynaecology-obstetrics, doctors


1.    Bourne, T., Vanderhaegen, J., Vranken, R., et al. Doctors‘ experiences and their perception of the most stressful aspects of complaints processes in the UK: an analysis of qualitative survey data. BMJ Open, 2016, 6:e011711.doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011711.
2.    Bourne, T., Wynants, L., Peters, M., et al. The impact of complaints procedures on the welfare, health and clinical practise of 7926 doctors in the UK: a cross-sectional survey. BMJ Open, 2015, 4:e006687.doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006687.
3.    Chudáček, P. Dotazník na personální situaci gynekologicko-porodnických pracovišť. 5. konference SNGP, Brno, 2015. 
4.    Peckham, C. Medscape Malpractice Report 2015: Why Ob/Gyns Get Sued. Medscape,, 2016.
5.    Ústav zdravotnické informatiky a statistiky:

Paediatric gynaecology Gynaecology and obstetrics Reproduction medicine
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