As a physician, merely going to work each day entails a substantial amount of risk. After all, dealing with other people’s health is a heavy burden. Any advice that you give them could potentially harm them or worsen their condition. While we don’t doubt your level of expertise, even the best physician faces the possibility of a lawsuit on a daily basis. It does not even have to be your fault: If someone wants to sue you, there is nothing that you can do.
Fortunately, most mistake does not have to lead to a lawsuit. So without further ado, here is what you can do to prevent one:
- Be friendly with your patients. The more courteous and welcoming you are as a professional, the less people will be prone to suing you in the event that something goes wrong. You have to remember that your patients are humans and that strong bonds between physician and patient is the first step towards eluding a malpractice lawsuit.
- Educate your patients. Ensure that you are both on the same page. Educate your patients on the risks associated with any therapeutic procedure that you might wish to use on them, as well as the costs and benefits associated with them.
- Know your patients. Yes, you might be busy, but it’s not a reason to not know where your patient comes from. The more you know about a patient and his or her past medical history, the less likely to make a mistake you will be.
- Always follow-up. Following-up on your patients shows that you care and works towards strengthening the bond between patient and physician. Always ensure to keep the follow-ups documented so that you can access them at any time.
- Arm yourself with professional liability insurance coverage. If you can’t prevent a lawsuit, then being adequately covered under a professional liability insurance is your best bet. This type of policy protects you from financial loss associated with someone filing a lawsuit against you. As an example, someone might claim that you never warned them of a side effect associated with a certain drug, when in fact you did. Since this is difficult to prove otherwise, you might lose the case. If the patient decides to sue you (and you are uninsured), then the costs would have to be paid out of your own pocket. On the other hand, had you been insured, your insurance company would have taken care of it all for you.
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