Albert W. Wu, MD, MPH
Requests for Reprints: Albert W. Wu, MD, MPH, Health Services Research and Development Center, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. For reprint orders in quantities exceeding 100, please contact the Reprints Coordinator; phone, 215-351-2657; e-mail, email@example.com.
Wu A.; Handling Hospital Errors: Is Disclosure the Best Defense?. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:970-972. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-12-199912210-00012
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(12):970-972.
Why do patients sue? Bad outcomes and errors in care are obvious factors, but some of the available evidence implicates deficient communication. One attorney explained it to me this way:
Reviewing his experience as a malpractice defense attorney, Green (1) estimated that although less than 20% of medical malpractice cases involve negligence, almost all involve a breakdown in the physician-patient relationship. Patients often form unrealistic expectations because their physicians fail to discuss treatment alternatives. In a review of closed claims in Florida, Hickson and colleagues (2) found that almost 50% of perinatal injury lawsuits were motivated by suspicion of a cover-up or by the desire for revenge. Levinson and coworkers (3) found that primary care physicians were less likely to be sued if they told patients what to expect, encouraged them to talk, used humor, and spent more time with them. An estimated 75% of all malpractice lawsuits involve inpatient or emergency department care; in these care settings, the physician and the patient usually do not have an established relationship (4).
to gain full access to the content and tools.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only