Defensive medicine among obstetricians and gynaecologists in Turkey
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In recent years, there has been a remarkable increase in medical malpractice litigations against OB/GYNs in Turkey and globally. This high litigation atmosphere may have changed attitudes, behaviour and practice of OB/GYNs. In the current study, opinions and attitudes of OB/GYNs regarding defensive medicine and to what extent they practice it were investigated. One hundred and eight OB/GYNs participated in the study. All participants found obstetrics and gynaecology riskier when compared with other medical branches and reported that they were increasingly practising defensive medicine. The majority of the OB/GYNs stated that they abstained from many risky interventions and expressed their belief that the high caesarean section (C-section) rate was associated with medico-legal concerns. The majority of the participants supported enacting of a specific medical malpractice law and supported the establishment of medically specialised courts. These regulations demanded by OB/GYNs should be taken into account by health authorities.Impact statementWhat is already known on this subject: In recent years, there has been a remarkable increase in medical malpractice litigations against OB/GYNs in Turkey and globally. Turkey has serious problems with the high C-section rate, which has been suggested to be related to medicolegal issues in a previous research. Fifty-one percent of babies, namely most of them, are delivered via C-section. There is no specific medical malpractice law and medically specialised court in Turkey.What the results of this study add: It seems like there is a professional liability crisis among OB/GYNs in Turkey. OB/GYNs reported that they were increasingly practising defensive medicine, and stated that they abstained from many risky interventions. A high C-section rate was found to be related to medicolegal concerns in OB/GYNs' perspective in the current study. OB/GYNs demanded some reasonable regulations.What the implications are of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research: Regulations demanded by OB/GYNs, which were probed in the current study, such as enacting a specific medical malpractice law and establishment of a medically specialised court, should be taken into account by health authorities in Turkey. The findings of the current study is believed to produce important results for the success of Health transformation programme put into practice in Turkey, which was not able to stop increasing C-section rates. Studies evaluating the direct or indirect costs related to defensive medicine practices of OB/GYNs in Turkey should be performed in subsequent research.