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How can doctors reduce the risk of medical malpractice?

As a patient suffering from malpractice, you know all too well how a doctor's actions can lead to pain and suffering. How can doctors reduce the risks to people like yourself? What can they do to avoid having to defend themselves in court?

Reducing the risk to patients is really the only way to reduce or eliminate medical malpractice lawsuits. Doctors who are serious about doing this perform several actions every time they interact with patients. For instance, if you go to the doctor for a cold, your doctor should be noting everything you say, all symptoms and medications taken or given, in your medical chart. If he or she doesn't do this and you suffer from a complication, the doctor could be held liable since there is no proof that he or she treated you for the original concerns.

Physicians should be transparent about treatment plans with you, too. Sharing notes with you and explaining what they mean can help you understand them as well as reducing liability, since you're agreeing or disagreeing with a plan of action.

Another thing that can actually reduce the risk of lawsuits for doctors is apologizing when they're wrong. If a doctor apologizes and tries to take care of a problem, it's usually not something that necessarily has to go to court. Although you could use this apology to prove that the doctor was aware that he or she did make a mistake in your care and that you should receive compensation for those errors, an apology is not admissible in court. Knowing this, your attorney may be able to help you negotiate with the hospital and doctor him or herself instead of going through a trial.

Source: Neurology Advisor, "Five Tips for Reducing Risk of Malpractice Lawsuits," Nov. 07, 2016

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