fbpx

Legalities Suck: How I Learned that Doctors Are Vulnerable

An anonymous first-hand account of a physician that comes face-to-face with a lawsuit.

April 11, 2023

I’m a cardiologist. I dedicated my life to saving others.

I spent countless hours studying and training to ensure that I can provide the best possible care to my patients.

So when I received the news that I was being named in a lawsuit, I was shocked and devastated.

I had done everything in my power to help the patient in question.

I had followed all the proper procedures and protocols, and I had provided the best possible care.

Yet, here I was, being accused of wrongdoing.

I spent countless hours studying and training to ensure that I can provide the best possible care to my patients.

 

When I received the news that I was being named in a lawsuit, I was shocked and devastated. Click To Tweet

 

It’s a common misconception that doctors are infallible. We are human, and we make mistakes. I know this just as much as everyone else.

However, in this case, I knew that I had done everything (that was humanly possible) right.

I had followed all the guidelines and protocols, and had provided the best possible care to the patient who ended up suing me.

I felt helpless.

Here I was, doctor of the year, for several years running, and I was being named in a suit.

I knew that the legal system could be unforgiving, and I was worried about the impact that this lawsuit would have on my career and reputation.

Why are we so vulnerable, as doctors?

Why can anyone essentially say anything about us?

Why are patients protected by HIPAA, and doctors not protected by anything at all?

Did you know that, according to the AMA, 1 in 3 physicians has been sued by age 55, and that 1 in 2 physicians are hit with a suit in general? It’s true. Take a look at the stats here, in an article from 2018.

The whole thing felt like I was being punished. Took me back, in fact, to grade school days.

 

“Being named in a lawsuit felt like I was being punished. Took me back, in fact, to grade school days.”

 

I’ll fast forward to the end.

In my case, I was lucky. My lawsuit ended up being dismissed, and I was cleared of wrongdoing.

But the experience left a lasting effect on me. Its impact will stay with me forever.

You can’t really get over an experience like that. Believe me, it’s really, really hard.

The situation I had been in made me realize that, as doctors, we’re not only responsible for the health and well-being of our patients, but are also extremely vulnerable to the legal system.

It’s a sobering thought, and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This learning experience is powered by CMEfy - a platform that brings relevant CMEs to busy clinicians, at the right place and right time. Using short learning nudges, clinicians can reflect and unlock AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Of Interest

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

The Unhappy Physician

The Unhappy Physician

Daniel Paull MD explains why he thinks that despite what the public thinks, most physicians are unhappy.

Social Dissections

[SERIES] Social Dissections

Join us in a visual and audio show, where we host light conversations with some of today’s standout healthcare experts.

David Norris, MD, MBA

Negotiate as a Physician and Win

Catch this 8-part series, hosted by physician & business consultant David Norris, MD, MBA & produced by Dana Corriel, MD. Learn to be a stronger negotiator with these important tactics.

Brand Your Social Media Content in a Day

Doctors Exploring Social Media

Raw and real social media-related questions, discussed in a video collection, hosted by Dana Corriel, MD, over a casual – but fun! – virtual setting.

Olga Calof, MD

Olga Calof, MD

My philosophy of care is to personally connect with patients, so we can work together to understand their disease, how it should be treated, and how to modify lifestyle choices to live the best life possible.

Judith Hong, MD

Judith Hong, MD

A board-certified dermatologist who loves and teaches mindful art classes, dance, and Reiki.

Deborah Gutman, MD, MPH

Deborah Gutman, MD, MPH

I coach and mentor pre-health and medical students with a growth mindset for successful applications to medical school and residency.

Want More?

Be a part of our healthcare revolution. Don't miss a thing SoMeDocs publishes!

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

follow us

© 2024 SoMeDocs. All Rights Reserved.

Soak up our content & grow

Earn CME

Drop your email address below and we’ll email you the link for earning CME (through CMEfy). Please check your spam folder if you do not receive our email. We’ll also add you to our Sunday newsletter, so you can earn more CME’s reading our content!

Support A Platform that Celebrates Real Doctors

For just $10 a month, you can help keep this openly accessible site available to all & help us sponsor in more doctors.

Interested in subscribing
to our unique content?

Interested in subscribing to our unique content?

I acknowledge that this site is not to be used for medical advice.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question

SoMeDocs

“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”

Site SoMeDocs Logo, square

WANT TO STAY IN THE LOOP?

DON'T MISS A SINGLE CONTENT PIECE.