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Physician Practice Behavior and Litigation Risk: Evidence and Opportunity

HICKSON, GERALD B. MD*; ENTMAN, STEPHEN S. MD

Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2008 - Volume 51 - Issue 4 - p 688-699
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181899c2c
How to Prevent a Malpractice Suit

Malpractice risk bedevils obstetricians. Suits can be a nuisance or emotionally and financially devastating. In this chapter, we ask simple questions and provide empiric data to demonstrate that interpersonal factors trigger suits. A supportive relationship between the obstetrician, team members, and the patient can reduce the chance of being sued after an unexpected event. Collaboration between physician colleagues and others to promote teamwork reduces error and increases patient satisfaction. Physicians who disrupt the emotional ecosystem increase liability for themselves and team members. A method of identifying physicians at increased risk and a strategy for intervening to reverse the pattern is described.

Departments of *Pediatrics

Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Correspondence: Gerald B. Hickson, MD, 405 Oxford House, 1313 21st Avenue, South Nashville, TN. E-mail: gerald.hickson@vanderbilt.edu

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.