You aim to give your patients the highest standards of care at all times. Unfortunately, there are times when you might be put on your defense for medical malpractice. Based on statistics, approximately 80% of healthcare providers are sued for one thing or another at some point in their profession. The numbers are as high as 75% in low-risk medical fields and 95% in high-risk specialties.
Juries, in most cases, will sympathize with a patient, more so when the reported injuries are grave. This has led most healthcare providers to overlook experienced attorneys in Lebanon, Indiana, and other locations, and pay off the patients out of court to avoid a messy trial. While this sounds like the easy choice, it will seem like you have something to hide when you settle out of court without an attorney.
Moreover, patients might take advantage of your vulnerability to bring baseless lawsuits against you, hoping to get a settlement form your clinic. Getting a lawyer is your initial step when faced with a malpractice suit. Here are the steps you should take to protect your name and profession:
Do Not Alter Your Records
When facing a lawsuit, most people would go back to their records and attempt to delete or change some parts to prove their innocence. This might, unfortunately, work against you as it might be construed as hiding evidence. Ensure that the patient’s file has all the relevant documents to your case and retain the original records to paint yourself in the best possible light.
Document a Patient’s Complaints
Most people ignore a patient’s complaints hoping they will become non issues. This, unluckily, can work against you. Having proper documentation of all your client’s complaints gives you evidence for your case and shows what steps you took to address it. When juries understand you took a step to address a patient’s concerns, this will soften their stand.
Plan Your Testimony
You will undoubtedly be put on your defense at some point. Do not assume this is a walk in the park since you know you are innocent. Avoid medical jargon and coming across as arrogant. Talk to the jury like you would to a patient. If you should use any complex terms, take the time to explain the words so that everyone will understand. Juries are liable to favor you if they can learn something from your testimony and when you come across as a caregiver rather than an all-knowing expert.
Control Your Temper
The patient’s lawyer will antagonize and badger you with seemingly provocative questions. You are only human and might lose your temper during the questioning. You should, however, remain objective and calm throughout your testimony. This will paint you as a careful person capable of making the right choices regardless of your circumstances.
Most clinics have been closed down, and healthcare providers have had their licenses revoked owing to a malpractice suit. Others have served lengthy prison sentences and paid hefty fines for the cases they have faced. Even with the above steps, do not try to negotiate with a patient without an attorney present. This makes you seem like you are wrong and gives the patient ammunition against you.