Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to: not get sued

One interesting tidbit that came out of last week's Patient Safety Workshop was a handy guide to "which doctors are likely to get sued".

Apart from the fact that male doctors get sued much, much more often and for much, much more money than female doctors, here are a few of the factors that influence whether or not your patients will sue you:

Doctors who are "late, rude, inattentive, poor/non-communicators, and apathetic" are more likely to get sued.

Doctors who ask questions, laugh with their patients, explain everything, and allow sufficient time for a consult are less likely to get sued. It also helps to be honest and apologise if you do make a mistake, and not just hand the patient to a different doctor.

As one GP told me last year, "if your patients like you, you have to do lots of things wrong before they will sue you".

So now the question is, should we spend more time learning how to be nice, or how to be competent? Or should the less likeable amongst us be trying even harder at med school?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you can afford to be both? right now, on the blog, you seem to have enough bedside manners though. A surgeon I knew had a regular patient (and I think he still goes back to him) who was well known amongst the nurses as an asshole. Mr A got on the table one day for a routine lap chole and caught on fire due to the change from betadine prep to something just purely alcoholic or something along those lines.

Mr A, despite his legendary attitude, was oddly retrospective post surgery, after being told what happened. He never sued the surgeon mind you, the daughter might have tried to for him, but so far, there has been no repercussions from Mr A himself.

which is quite... odd I had tell you.