Adonis Diaries

What type of hated surgeons gets harassed with legal malpractice suits?

Posted on: July 26, 2012

What type of surgeons gets harassed with legal malpractice suits?

A patient filed suit against a physician internist, not the surgeon who delayed the diagnosis of her breast tumor that metastasized. Why?

“In our first meeting, the female internist never took the time to talk to me, and never asked about my other symptoms. She never looked at me as a whole person…” This is a contempt case in the way a physician treat patients.

Alice Burkin, a medical malpractice lawyer, says:

“In all the year I’ve been in this business, I’ve never had a potential client walk in and say “I really like this doctor, and I feel terrible about doing it, but I want to sue him”…We’ve had patients come in wanting to sue a specialist and we’ll say, “We don’t think that surgeon was negligent. We think it’s your primary care doctor who was a fault…” And the client will say, “I don’t care what my primary doctor did. I love her, and I’m not suing her…”

Statistics and evidences point that malpractice suits have little to do with how many mistakes a doctor makes. Actually, it is the highly skilled surgeons and physicians who get sued very often. Apparently, patients don’t file lawsuits out of harms done by shoddy medical care: they are angry with how they have been treated on a personal level.

Reviewing cases of medical malpractice, the surgeon who got suit spent an average of 15 minutes with the patients compared to 18.3 minutes by the saved surgeons. How these additional 3 minutes saved the lucky physicians?

There was no difference in the amount or quality of information the physicians gave their patients, they provided the amount of details about medication or the patient’s condition…what gives?

The physicians who were never sued made “orienting” comments, such as

1. “First I’ll examine you, and then we will talk the problem over…

2. I will leave time for your questions…

3.  Go on, tell me more about that trouble…

These physicians tended to laugh and be funny during the visit, and they lended a listening ear, and got engaged in the conversation…

It was not the content of the conversations that saved surgeon, but the tone of the voice, the warmth…The tone of voices that gave the impression of dominance, hostility, and anxiousness were never missed by the patients…

Malpractice suits come down to a matter of respect which is communicated through the tone of the voice…Patients are listening to that feeling in the voice…that mankind brain is superior in detecting corrosive signature in the voice…

You may listening to bribes of a short conversation and get the impression which relationship is in serious trouble…Mankind’s brain is excellent at detecting contempt signature in the voice and in the attitudes, facial and body gestures (rolling of eyes…)

Very few of us have ever watched even a one-minute video conversation with others. We are all shocked of how we sounded and behaved…

Professional people are not trained to watch themselves on how they come across in their conversation with clients…

Obviously, people who have contempt will not transform drastically, but all the other shortcoming can be vanquished and improved…

Take seriously feedbacks from the others: They are watching you and picking up on the thin-slicing bits of intelligence you are disseminating…

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

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