The Doctors Company On Defending Against Malpractice Allegations in Highly Publicized Cases

The media and general public often empathize with the patient when allegations of malpractice are raised. For a physician, this predisposition can be terrifying because it automatically paints the doctor as at fault, even when best practices were clearly followed. This video, presented by The Doctors Company (TDC), discusses the malpractice suit leveled against a physician in Texas involving a patient who overdosed on prescription drugs shortly after being treated.

Cases such as these are difficult because media attention can add to the emotional toll of a family already dealing with a tremendous amount of grief. The video offers an overview of the reason malpractice was claimed, as well as the evidence of the doctor's treatment of the patient. But more importantly, TDC discusses the emotional toll such legal proceedings can have on a physician, and how they can best serve the doctor by making certain that their case and voice is heard. For a doctor facing a malpractice suit for any reason, it can compromise their level of comfort in practicing medicine, not due to lack of confidence in professional abilities but in a fear of treatment being misinterpreted. The video discusses all of these points and offers the ultimate conclusion to the case.


Comments (2) -

James McGarity, M.S.
3/3/2015 8:21:41 AM #

Good information. Medical professionals often have difficulty managing the emotions (e.g., feelings of betrayal, questioning one's competence, fears about the impact of losing the case, etc.) that accompany being named in a medical malpractice suit. These emotions often impede the medical professionals' ability to navigate the process, and stand in the way of optimal performance as a witness--which is critical to a successful defense. Learning how to manage these emotions is an important process, and something every witness CAN learn to do!


George Dyck, MD
4/20/2015 4:19:50 PM #

I had a similar case many years ago.  A woman took an overdose of a tricyclic antidepressant months after I had prescribed it following a hospitalization.  She had not taken the medication as prescribed, but did not inform a colleague who was now seeing her.  She went to an ER promptly, where she was given an emetic and they sent her to a psychiatric unit believing she was out of danger.  The emetic did not work.  After her death her family filed a claim.  The insurance company decided to settle for a small amount rather than contest the claim, and notified me and my colleague afterward.