It is the ultimate nightmare of any doctor: a malpractice claim. Not only can it ruin your well earned reputation, but it can bankrupt you and leave you essentially unhireable by any hospital or medical organization, and the worst part is that malpractice is pretty much inevitable. Every doctor in North America should have malpractice insurance, and most jurisdictions won’t allow you to practice medicine without, much like you aren’t allowed to drive a car without car insurance. The cost of malpractice insurance is outrageous, to say the least, and it is the single biggest reason why more doctors aren’t super rich, like the stereotype says. Since doctors are human, even if they hate to admit it, and a malpractice suit is simply a matter of time, here are a few tips you can follow to help put off your first malpractice claim for as long as possible.
Malpractice can happen anywhere at almost any time. It can be caused by an incorrect diagnosis that ends up causing someone to die prematurely or it can happen on the operating table when a person suddenly dies during a routine procedure. There is no way to completely prevent those things from happening, but studies have shown that the single biggest cause of malpractice is poor communication.
On the hit television show House, Dr. House is famed for saying that everyone lies, meaning that most people are so self conscious or so afraid of being embarrassed about why they are sick or why they need medical attention that they often lie about symptoms that are presenting or how they really feel, and it is the doctor that is going to be blamed if that patient dies in their care, even if the patient was lying to your face. It is enough to make a person flee from medicine faster than an antelope from a lion. It can be impossible to try to build a legitimate rapport with your patients when you have a waiting room full of people and you’re absurdly overworked, but taking a few minutes to make direct eye contact, to ask honest questions about why a person is there might just make the difference between a person being honest about what’s going on and them lying. It is impossible to really care about every single patient you see every single day, no one anywhere cares that much about their job, but making an honest effort to communicate clearly is essentially the only way to prevent a possible malpractice situation from happening.
On a similar note, every doctor must have a healthy ego if he or she believes that they can save lives and perform acts that are akin to miracles each and every day, but calling for a consult with another doctor can be just what you need to stave off incorrect an incorrect diagnosis, and, in turn, a malpractice suit. Remember, being a good doctor means knowing when to ask for help. The life of the patient supersedes your ego, and if it doesn’t, you are on the fast track to malpractice-ville.