Viewpoint: Good doctor-patient relationship reduces lawsuits

Side note: Does your ‘bedside manner’ actually affect your chances of being named in medical malpractice litigation; most doctors, and some insurance companies, think so. Valiant insurance, for one, requires prospective applicants to pass a communication evaluation before their acceptance is considered. Developing a candid, trusting relationship with your patients can make them less likely to blame you in the event of unforeseen medical complications. Doctors who remain aloof during their patient interaction are more likely to be targeted in medical malpractice litigation. Keeping that in mind, if you can “pass” the communication evaluation that Valiant offers, it can save you quite a bit of money each year. To get a quote from Valiant (if they write policies in your region and/or specialty) or any other insurance company in your state, fill out our free, no, obligation medical malpractice insurance quote form. Start saving today!

By Dr. Manoj Jain

My medical partner, a soft-spoken and caring man with more than a decade of clinical experience, has encountered patients who have threatened to sue him.

So when I told him I’d received a letter from a patient’s widow who intended to sue me, he suggested I reply with a letter.

“Often, patients and families just want their doctor to reach out to them,” he said.

Of course, I thought. And then I wondered — since I’m usually such a proponent of frank doctor/patient communication — why hadn’t the idea occurred to me sooner?

I think I know. The moment a patient threatens to sue me, our relationship changes. The doctor-patient relationship unravels. Our interaction becomes a business and legal transaction, based on fear and suspicion.

After I was threatened with a lawsuit, my practice changed. I rehearsed every word I said so it would not be ambiguous if replayed in a court of law.

I said so it would not be ambiguous if replayed in a court of law.

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