The majority of physicians will be sued during their career, and the experience – or even just the prospect of being sued – can be very stressful. On top of that reality, COVID-19 presents new concerns that could make it even more complicated. These resources are here to help.
Doctors and Litigation: The L Word
The majority of physicians will be sued during their career, yet the topic is largely taboo. This podcast for physicians discusses malpractice litigation and litigation stress, covering many angles of the process, from the legal minutia to the way a lawsuit weighs on your personal relationship. The L Word is hosted by Gita Pensa, MD, who is also one of the authors of the Medicolegal Mind column in ACEP Now.
Darkness Into Light: Suicide, Coping and Hope
This episode tells the story of Dr. J, an accomplished OB Gyn who died by suicide during litigation after the death of his patient. Dr. Pensa talks about barriers to physicians seeking help and how peer support programs can act as a lifeline. And we talk to a psychologist with expertise in physician litigation about some techniques and strategies for coping with litigation stress.
Special Episode: Litigation Risk & COVID-19
Some states are adopting emergency liability measures that provide practitioners with additional protection, but this does not mean the provider has blanket immunity from being sued. It is imperative to be properly insured for however your practice changes in this pandemic. Dr. Pensa speaks with two malpractice attorneys about general principles and discusses specific considerations for retirees and volunteers, physicians who are changing the manner in which they see patients, and the importance of documenting circumstances in general.
ACEP Frontline Featured Episodes:
COVID-19 and the Law
Host Ryan Stanton, MD, FACEP, talks to Tricia Shackelford, Esq., an attorney specializing in healthcare law. She tells us what we know and don't know pertaining to providing healthcare during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 and the Law: PPE, OSHA and Job Security
Host Ryan Stanton, MD, FACEP, speaks with Tricia Shackelford, Esq. about PPE requirements, OSHA protections, and employee contracts to help you protect yourself and your job during the COVID crisis.
Information Papers & Guidance
So, You Have Been Sued! Is an information paper that explains the basics of malpractice lawsuits, including the personal effects of litigation stress, how to prepare for the legal process, financial issues, and the repercussions of losing or settling. The paper was developed by the ACEP Medical Legal Committee and updated in June 2019.
Top 10 Principles on How To Avoid Getting Sued in Emergency Medicine is an information paper detailing basic principles to help minimize systems errors, provide better care for our patients, and decrease our risk of being sued as a physician. The paper was developed by the ACEP Medical Legal Committee in August 2013.
- Emergency Medicine Practice Changes After Being Named in a Malpractice Claim (Sept. 2019)
- Coping With Medical Mistakes and Errors in Judgment (March 2002)
Medicolegal Mind is a very popular column in ACEP Now covering all aspects of physician litigation.
- I’ve Been Sued for Malpractice. Now What? (Aug. 2019)
- Inconsistent Records & Insufficient Imaging Complicate Malpractice Case (Sept. 2019)
- Survival Tips for the First Step of a Malpractice Lawsuit (Oct. 2019)
- When Delayed Diagnosis Leads to a Malpractice Lawsuit (Dec. 2019)
- Tips for Navigating Discovery and Deposition in a Malpractice Lawsuit (Jan. 2020)
- Who’s to Blame for Unfair Litigation? (April 2020)
- What Can Be Done About Unethical Expert Witnesses (July 2020)
- A Patient Transfer Leads to a Lawsuit (Sept. 2020)
- Malpractice Litigation in the Era of COVID-19 (October 2020)
- What Is - and Isn't - Guaranteed Under EMTALA Can Be Complex (Dec. 2020)
- Sometimes It's Better to Settle a Lawsuit Than to Go All-In With Trial (Jan 2021)
- A Lack of Communication Let a Cancer Grow, Which Led to a Lawsuit (March 2021)
- Physician on Trial: What to Expect (April 2021)
- Don't Be Shy When Evaluating Patients Who Return to the ED (June 2021)