Defending Yourself Against Medical Malpractice Claims

Facing allegations of professional malpractice can be a traumatic experience for many medical professionals. Even when the allegations are without merit, the accused can be plagued by self-doubt. Physicians by nature tend to shoulder responsibility for an adverse result, even when the actual cause was beyond their control. They need to keep in mind the various factors other than their skill and care that can influence patient outcomes. These same factors can also provide viable defenses.

The doctor-patient relationship is symbiotic in nature. Every patient shares responsibility for his or her own health. A patient who fails to do so can face a less-than-desirable outcome despite a physician’s best efforts and adherence to professional standards. When a physician facing malpractice allegations believes that factors outside of his or her control contributed to a poor patient outcome, the legal defense team must be advised. The team needs to know about any of the following patient actions:

  • Lack of cooperation with testing and appointments
  • Failure to follow instructions relating to preparation for surgery or other procedures
  • Abuse of prescribed medications
  • Refusal to follow medical advice regarding lifestyle changes or the need for particular treatments or care
  • Misrepresentations about his or her medical history or conditions

In addition, the risks inherent in certain procedures can also provide a viable defense as long as the patient was advised of such risks and made informed consent. Medical professionals understand that a poor result does not necessarily indicate poor performance. Unfortunately, patients and their families often disagree. Doctors facing malpractice allegations must proceed carefully and work closely with their New Jersey health care defense team.

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  • Posted on: Sep 2 2014