Top 10 Mistakes Physicians Make Regarding Malpractice

Malpractice. It looms over every medical practice and even the most conscientious physician shutters at its thought. It only takes one mistake, one disgruntled patient, or one unfortunate outcome to compromise a doctor's livelihood.

Malpractice. It looms over every medical practice and even the most conscientious physician shutters at its thought. It only takes one mistake, one disgruntled patient, or one unfortunate outcome to compromise a doctor's livelihood.

The following are the most common mistakes physicians make before and after a malpractice lawsuit has surfaced, according to Vincent J. Montell and James C. Goodwin, partners at Bowman and Brooke LLP.

1) Continuing to provide routine, nonemergent care, to difficult or noncompliant patients.

2) Calling a patient to "talk them out of" the claim or lawsuit just filed.

3) Making entries in, or revising, the medical chart for reasons other than medical care (ie, editing a chart for litigation purposes).

4) Practicing medicine without malpractice insurance.

5) Not reading the malpractice insurance policy to make sure they understand their reporting obligations when confronted with a potential malpractice lawsuit.

6) Automatically blaming other healthcare providers for poor outcomes instead of recognizing that poor outcomes can simply happen, even when everyone has provided reasonable care.

7) Refusing to consent to a settlement in a case they will most likely lose, or insisting on settling a case they really should win.

8) Believing that the physician is the "captain of the ship" and is thus responsible for poor care provided by others not under their control.

9) Failing to retain records.

10) Not taking an active role in defending the case.