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Negotiating, Mediating, and Arbitrating Physician-Patient Conflicts


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2008 - Volume 51 - Issue 4 - p 719-730
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181899cf9
How to Prevent a Malpractice Suit

Medical errors, unanticipated outcomes, and physician-patient conflicts are going to occur. The traditional tort-based system of adjudicating these as “medical malpractice” in court is inefficient and expensive. Litigation as a kind of faultfinding judicial autopsy actually victimizes both the patient and the physician. Disproportionate transaction costs in litigation reduce motivation and available resources that could otherwise be used for problem solving. Instead, physicians and patients can use negotiation and mediation to resolve conflicts, and employ arbitration to adjudicate their disputes if they are unsuccessful.

S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Correspondence: James R. Holbrook, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, 332 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.