Viewpoint: Good doctor-patient relationship reduces lawsuits
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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.