Everyone knows that physicians are much more educated than most, knowledgeable of all the complex systems of the human body, how they work together, and what to do when those systems fail. But today’s doctor needs to know a lot more than that. He or she must also be a bit of an entrepreneur and manager, familiar with many aspects of business. Perhaps the most important non-medical aspect for a physician to become well versed in is risk management.
Here are three things that every doctor must know about medical malpractice:
1) You will be sued within your lifetime. Statistically speaking, virtually every physician is sued for medical malpractice. That doesn’t mean you messed up. It just means that the way things are, there’s a greedy trial lawyer just waiting to cash in on any mole hill he hopes to parlay into a jackpot settlement. It’s not a question of IF you will be sued, but when. And when you do, you’ll want to have a capable, qualified team in your corner.
2) The easiest pill to swallow is the award. The burden a medical malpractice claim places upon a physician isn’t the award. That’s paid (up to policy limits) by the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance, along with the cost of his defense lawyer. That’s the easy part. What’s hard is everything else. The insurance company may cut a check for any damages awarded, and pay the attorney, but they’re not paying for the time you spend away from patients giving depositions. They’re not paying your office staff for the time they spend pulling records and researching the case. They’re not paying for the interruption of your practice, nor are they able to compensate you for the damages that the allegation itself causes. So even if you’ve done nothing wrong, even if the case never gets before a judge or jury, even if the court finds in your favor, you’re still out a tremendous amount of time and energy. Medical malpractice insurance can’t do anything for the anguish and self-doubt, let alone the damage to your reputation caused by that allegation.
3) Your Reputation Precedes You. It may not be Right or Fair, but the simple truth is that even a frivolous allegation will stay with you a very long time, cost you higher premiums, etc. Then there’s the Internet. These days, people check out doctors, mechanics, home repair companies… and if someone is trashing your name, or if your name appears on a list of those who have been sued, it’s going to cost you money. People tend to believe that where there’s smoke there’s fire. Even if not, why risk it, right? These days, recruiters are REQUIRED to do Internet searches by more than 70% of the companies, so your reputation is crucial.
There are many other facets that are important, or even crucial, to your practice. This just touches on some of the big ones. For a more detailed and comprehensive evaluation, contact Medical Justice. Find out how they can cure what ails you and your practice. Proactive measures are definitely in order!