Iatrogenic Injuries

Medical Negligence Injuries

Iatrogenesis, which stems from a Greek term meaning “brought forth by the healer”) refers to any effect on a person, resulting from any activity of one or more other persons acting as healthcare professionals or promoting products or services as beneficial to health, which does not support a goal of the person affected.

While some have advocated using the term to refer to all “events caused by the health care delivery team”, whether “positive or negative”, consensus limits use of iatrogenesis to adverse effects, including (in the broadest sense) all adverse unforeseen outcomes resulting from medication or other medical treatment or intervention. Some iatrogenic effects are clearly defined and easily recognized, such as a complication following a surgical procedure (e.g., lymphedema as a result of breast cancer surgery); less obvious ones, such as complex drug interactions, may require significant investigation to identify.

Cases of iatrogenesis may include:

  • complications arising from a medical procedure or treatment
  • side effects of possible drug interactions
  • medical errors
  • negligence
  • use of contaminated instruments
  • anxiety or annoyance in the patient, physician or treatment provider in relation to medical procedures or treatments
  • unnecessary medical treatment resulting from a physician’s decision

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