Which doctors get sued?

Remember that it is not the mistakes you make as a doctor but the relationship you have with your patients that determines whether you get sued or not.



This is from John die Julius, the customer service guru: http://www.thedijuliusgroup.com/


Want more evidence of how important demonstrations of caring and compassion can be in the medical world?
Consider the following findings from the book Blink, by Malcom GladwellMalcolm Gladwell

  • The risk of being sued for malpractice has very little to do with how many mistakes a doctor makes.
  • Analysis of malpractice lawsuits shows that highly skilled doctors get sued. In nearly every single malpractice case, the patient was quoted as saying something negative about how the doctor made them feel.
  • At the same time, the overwhelming numbers of people who suffer an injury due to negligence of a doctor never file a malpractice suit at all. Why? Because of the bond they had with the doctor. They would never consider suing the doctor or his practice, even though there was negligence on the part of their doctor.

Patients don’t file lawsuits because they’ve been harmed by shoddy medical care only. It is how their doctor treated them on a personal level. People don’t sue doctors they like

  1. #1 by Paddy Mosse on February 17, 2011 - 2:16 am


    I’ve have been to many Medico-Legal talks. They all say the same thing; Communication, communication, communication.

    If you are honest, explain things to the patient and give them the impression you care, you will likely not get sued. Problems arise when people do not feel that they are respected, or that the Dr. does not care, or is concealing something.

  2. #2 by shaun segal on February 17, 2011 - 2:29 am

    It’s true our rapport with patients and relationships we build are the most important aspect from a patient perspective.
    Even if we make mistakes , as long as we’re honest with our patients and have good interpersonal relationships we’re unlikely to ever be sued.

  3. #3 by Tony Dicker on February 17, 2011 - 3:14 am

    I agree.

    Talking to the patient, Listening to the patient. Planning for the complications.

    All very important parts of the relationship.

    It makes life more comfortable.


  4. #4 by hein vandenbergh on February 17, 2011 - 7:22 am

    An interesting study was published about 8 yrs ago which demonstrated that the average doctor interrupts his patients – whether new or known to him – within 8 seconds on average of the pt opening their mouth. Herein lies the seed of litigation.

    As Tony points out, talk and listen. I’d like to reverse that: listen, ask questions [talk], and then look. If a pt feels they are not taken seriously, let alone not being taken notice of, you are WAAYYY behind before you even start, and even the correct treatment with a minor but recognised complication will become a source for at least a complaint to the HCCC.

    The patient doesn’t even have to ‘like’ you, but they MUST leave the consultation satisfied that they were heard. We cannot like all pts, not can pts expect to like all drs. Often I hear the comment: ‘He’s a bit rude/sarcastic/whatever, but by gawd he gets to the botom of the problem’. That’s all pts expect.

    The corollary is true, too. My heartsink patients, those who will drone on and on and on and on, I treat with special regard and respect. You know what? After a few years, you actually get to like them, and they respect you and become much more accepting of your advice, and far less demanding and heartsink.

    Listen, do not interrupt [until some time has elapsed and then only to ask a clarifying question or make an affirmative remark], then talk and examine. Then talk some more and invite questions. It does not take any longer, as you get to the nub of the issue more effectively.

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