You worked hard to become a doctor, and now an unhappy patient is looking to destroy your reputation.
Unfortunately, you need to accept the chance of facing at least one of these claims during your career is high.
That does not mean you need to accept the accusations
People get upset when medical treatment does not go the way they hoped. They forget that as a doctor, you are doing the best you can under often difficult conditions. Above all, they forget that you cannot guarantee results. Every human is unique, and their bodies can react in things to different ways.
If the patient is to succeed in their claim, they will need to show four things are true:
- You had a duty of care toward them: Maybe you dealt with the person at one point. Maybe they have a case. It does not mean they should be bringing it against you. People sometimes take aim at the wrong person.
- You deviated from the accepted procedure: They might try to claim you should have done this or that instead. They might not understand that their circumstances were unique and that you did what most of your colleagues would have done in that particular situation.
- They suffered damage: People need to show proof of injury. Simply feeling upset is not good enough. They will need a medical colleague to document any harm done.
- They suffered them as a direct result of your actions: Maybe the claimant got hit by an uninsured driver after leaving the hospital and is trying to claim that if you had done a better job on their leg, they would have been able to run out of the way. Clearly, the accident is the driver’s fault, not yours, but people can get desperate when they cannot claim medical expenses through the usual channel.
There are many ways to defend against medical malpractice claims. Consider legal help to find the appropriate one for your case.