While prison medicine is a heavily researched area for quality improvement, little is known regarding prisoner access to dermatologists. The goal of this study was to characterize the claims related to a lack of dermatologist access in prison malpractice cases. We searched the LexisNexis Academic database of legal records from 1970 to 2018 using the terms “medical malpractice and dermatologist” to yield federal malpractice cases involving dermatologists. Ultimately, 89 distinct cases in which a prisoner was not able to see a dermatologist were included in the final analysis. Data relating to year, location, anatomical site, symptoms, dermatologist related claim, specialty of treating physician, and final diagnosis were extracted for each case. The 89 cases involving prisoners who were not able to see a dermatologist for their skin condition ranged from 1982 to 2018, with California (n = 12) and Pennsylvania (n = 11) containing the largest number of cases. 76% of the prisoners were only treated by primary care prison physicians for their dermatologic concerns. Several issues regarding dermatologist access were categorized in this study. This study reveals limited access to dermatologists for prisoners in need of dermatologic care. Improved collaboration between prison officials, prison medical staff, and dermatologists could help improve prisoner care and limit malpractice risk.
- Public health
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