Unfortunately, patients may still file lawsuits even if you perform seamless surgeries. According to Medscape Malpractice Report, 55 percent of surveyed physicians had been named at least once in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and 87 percent of those sued were surprised by the legal action.
No matter the situation, medical malpractice takes a toll on physicians. Whether or not the physicians were at fault, they suffer financial and legal ramifications, an impact on their reputations, and in severe cases, they may even question their ability to continue practicing medicine.
Although some situations are unavoidable, there are steps physicians can take to help combat the chances of being sued. Today, we offer three of the simpler ways you can avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Sometimes, lawsuits are the product of miscommunication. Be sure to ask your patients if they have any questions so they feel heard, and ask your own questions to get a full picture of their symptoms and their severity. When explaining surgical or treatment options, be clear and consistent. Notify your patients and their caregivers about the recovery process, and before you proceed, ensure you obtain informed consent.
Although shock and anger due to a complication could still occur, the time and effort you put into communicating might help patients and their families mentally prepare for such a situation.
Nurture good bedside manner
As a medical professional, your goal is to help improve quality of life. Make sure your patients feel that when you walk into the room. Even if you “aren’t a people person,” try to establish good patient and family relationships. Be aware of your body language. Don’t stand with your arms crossed, don’t interrupt your patient, and make sure you maintain eye contact.
We recently published an article about building a better bedside manner. Consider employing these helpful tips. Sometimes, using medical jargon to explain a situation might have made sense in your mind, but leaves patients feeling confused. Maintaining good relationships lessens the likelihood of miscommunication that escalates to a lawsuit.
Don’t underestimate the power of proper documentation. Make sure you follow procedures, keep notes about your cases, and document all diagnostics that occurred throughout your care of patients. More importantly, if a patient refuses any of your recommendations, be sure that refusal is recorded.
Medical malpractice is an unfortunate reality that physicians and advanced practitioners face. However, by striving to ask questions and nurture a positive experience for your patients, you will not only decrease your chances of a lawsuit, but improve your relationships with patients.
If you would like to make the most of practicing locum tenens, visit Medicus Healthcare Solutions, and call 855.301.0563 to speak with one of our experienced, knowledgeable recruiters today.