Patients don’t expect their doctors to be perfect, but they do expect to experience clear and respectful communication in each interaction. When they don’t, patients are more inclined to sue or file claims for malpractice. Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship. The physician-patient relationship is no exception.
Take advantage of professional liability insurance for medical doctors to manage your risks, and consider the following common causes of claims and lawsuits against doctors.
Poor Bedside Manner
When doctors treat their patients with the utmost respect and care, they earn patient trust and can end up saving themselves big bucks, too. Even if you do contribute to a bad outcome, if the patient or their family is fond of you and respects you, the likelihood they pursue a lawsuit greatly decreases. It’s crucial that you spend quality time with patients; it does have to be long but each visit should be meaningful.
Failure to Set Expectations
Some patients may feel that a good doctor would just know what is wrong, so any changes or delays in diagnosis can be perceived as a failure on the physician’s part. Failure is not in an absent diagnosis but actually the failure to set patient expectations. Take the time to thoroughly explain details to alleviate patient anxiety and create realistic expectations. Secure professional liability insurance for medical doctors in case a lawsuit does arise.
Lack of Informed Consent
Making decisions about treatment without taking the time to ensure that patients understand the process, is risky for both the patient and physician. Informed patients are more inclined to take responsibility for health decisions and actively participate in recommended treatments. Patients who feel they haven’t been told enough about their treatment or that little effort was made to obtain informed consent may develop resentment and therefore are more likely to sue for medical malpractice than a patient who felt that a physician truly cared about their opinion.
Doctors probably would prefer not to think of their patient notes as part of the record in a future lawsuit. But they can be, which is why it is important that physician paperwork accurately reflect exchanges. An attorney will analyze every note, so careful documentation is critical.
For patients, an awareness of what doctors face can help create a healthy relationship. Understanding the pressures you’re under may allow patients to be more sympathetic when a slip up does occur or if you are simply having a bad day. Encourage patients to ask questions and to play an active role in visits.
About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.
Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.