Communication Can Be Key to Avoiding Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Updated on March 31, 2021

Some medics act heroically to save lives, but there are times that even the best professionals make errors. Medical malpractice lawsuits can destroy careers and damage the trust between the practitioner and their patients. Communicating with your patients can help you avoid a medical malpractice suit and fix any mistakes before they spiral out of control. 

Transparency Is Very Important 

The best way to avoid malpractice lawsuits is to be an active member of the patient’s care team, communicating with both the patient and every other team member. This means transparency with the nursing staff, specialists, and the patient. Communicating well with the entire team reduces errors and makes it less likely that mistakes will occur.  

Write It Down 

Effective communication is not limited to verbal communication. Written documentation is just as important, if not more. The physician’s notes can help give insight into the diagnosis, treatment plan, and recommendations. These notes also serve as a record of the medication prescribed, patient compliance rates, and treatment results. 

Communicating well through written notes and correspondence is one of the best ways to cut down on the types of errors that commonly lead to malpractice suits.  

There’s a common saying when it comes to medical malpractice. “If it wasn’t charted, it wasn’t done,” is often heard in litigation when a practitioner is facing a lawsuit. If you talk to your patient on the phone and you advise him of a course of action, make extensive notes in the chart. 

Keep track of the incoming call, the time you returned the call, and what you discussed with the patient. Chart everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. Make sure that this chart is accessible for every member of the patient’s care team.  

Ask the Right Questions 

Talk to your patients. Listen to what they are saying. In many cases, patients are dissatisfied with their treatment plans but don’t express this to their team directly. By talking to them, you can get a sense of their feelings toward their care and address any issues before they spiral out of control. Communicating with your patients could also give you insight into other physical issues that they have not brought up to their team. 

If you have prescribed a course of medication and the patient is experiencing side effects, they may not volunteer this information but may mention it if you ask them. Understanding exactly what is going on with your patients is one of the best ways to avoid medical malpractice suits.  

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Are Sometimes Inevitable 

The American Medical Association reports that 95 medical malpractice suits are filed for every 100 physicians. Invariably, most of them never go to trial, but being sued for malpractice is not something that any practitioner wants to experience. Having open communication with the care team, patients, and their loved ones can go a long way in avoiding these suits. 

By documenting everything, increasing your written communication, and asking the right questions of your patients, you can avoid the mistakes and oversights that can lead to these lawsuits.  

Even the most thorough doctor can be hit with a medical malpractice suit. When that happens, the best course of action is to hire a team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers to assist your case. 

Medical malpractice attorneys have years of experience in dealing with these cases and can find evidence that will support your claims and absolve you of responsibility. They will work to end the cases quickly so that they don’t derail your career. Don’t go it alone when it comes to fighting these lawsuits. 

As a journalist, Leland D. Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting. He aims to draw in the public and make people more interested in the field. He is active on multiple platforms to increase his outreach to the public. Leland tirelessly covers all types of legal issues, but he has a personal preference for medical malpractice. This is mainly because he witnessed the implications of medical malpractice on a family member.

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