NYMC Faculty Publications

Review of Priapism Litigation in the United States

Author Type(s)


Journal Title


First Page


Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date





OBJECTIVES: To review medical malpractice trends and to identify the most common claims filed against medical providers for the management of patients with priapism.

METHODS: Using the Westlaw legal database, a search was done for the keyword "priapism" between July 1, 1980 and July 1, 2020. Cases were evaluated for plaintiff demographics, reasons for filing claims, management outcomes, legal verdicts and awards and further categorized based upon the timing of the alleged malpractice.

RESULTS: Alleged negligence during the pre-management period was cited in 30 cases. Administration of psychotropic medications was the most common reasons for filing pre-management claims 22/56 (39.3%). Delay in care accounted for 18/56 (32.1%) and complications of surgery were 5/56 (8.9%) of claims. The majority of the completed cases were in favor of the defendants (39/47; 83.0%). There was no association between type of health care provider or timing of alleged malpractice and ultimate verdict.

CONCLUSIONS: Prescribing psychoactive medications without warning of the adverse effect profile is the most common reason for claims filed against providers with trazodone as the leading medication. Medical providers should ensure that patients are well informed of this adverse effect prior to prescription. Regardless, the majority of medical malpractice cases carry a verdict in favor of the defendant.