Systematic review of professional liability when prescribing beta-lactams for patients with a known penicillin allergy Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2018.03.010 PMID: 29551402 Web of Science: 000448665400005

Cited authors

  • Jeffres, Meghan N.; Hall-Lipsy, Elizabeth A.; King, S. Travis; Cleary, John D.


  • Objective: To describe medical negligence and malpractice cases in which a patient with a known penicillin allergy received a beta-lactam and experienced an adverse reaction related to the beta-lactam.; Data Sources: Lexis-Nexus, Westlaw, and Google Scholar were searched.; Study Selections: Medical negligence and malpractice cases were eligible for inclusion if they met the following criteria: the plaintiff had a known penicillin allergy, received a beta-lactam, and experienced an adverse event. All United States federal and state cases were eligible.; Results: Twenty-seven unique casesmet the inclusion criteria. Eighteen cases involved the receipt of a penicillin-based antibiotic; of these cases with a known legal outcome, the plaintiff (patient or representative) prevailed or settled in 3 cases and defendants (providers) prevailed in 7 cases. Seven cases involved the receipt of a cephalosporin; of these cases with a known legal outcome, the plaintiff settled with physicians before trial in 1 case and defendants prevailed in 3 cases. Two cases involved the receipt of a carbapenem. Defendants prevailed in one case and the legal outcome of the other case is unknown. In cases in which the defense successfully moved for summary judgment, judges cited a lack of scientific evidence demonstrating a cephalosporin or carbapenem was contraindicated for a patient with a penicillin allergy.; Conclusion: The cases with published legal outcomes found limited professional liability for clinicians who prescribed cephalosporins or carbapenems to a patient with a known penicillin allergy. These results may decrease the litigation fears of practitioners and risk managers within health care systems. (c) 2018 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication date

  • 2018


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1081-1206

Start page

  • 530

End page

  • 536


  • 121


  • 5