Search form


When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

Some months ago, the receptionist in my clinic handed me a registered letter. The name of the sender seemed familiar. "Dear Sir," the letter read. "Please be advised that this letter serves as official notice that I am considering a potential claim against you in a medical Malpractice claim in regard to my husband. . . ." I stood, stunned. My white coat, which held the daily tools of my profession - my list of patients, the Sanford antibiotic manual, a black stethoscope - felt extraordinarily heavy.

While my receptionist and staff made themselves busy and waited for my reaction, I struggled to recall the patient, so many patients ago . . . and my alleged misdeed. I checked the administrative data, which showed that the man had died about a year before. Had I missed a lab test among the hundreds that I order each week? Had I failed to read a blood culture report? Had some error of mine resulted in his death?

Continue reading about my personal experience with our medical malpractice system - and how simple communication might help -- at The Washington Post.

Leave A Comment


We've opened recruitment for our all-expenses-paid 2016 California Health Journalism Fellowship, to be held in Los Angeles March 6-10, 2016. Apply now for a $1,000 reporting grant and five days of information-packed seminars, workshops and field trips on California's health care challenges. Click here for details.

We’ve grown considerably since we began in 2004 at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, and we’re thrilled to announce we now have a new name and new look for our website, formerly known as Reporting on Health.


Member Activities

Diana Aguilera has shared a blog post

Read it.

Jackie Valley has shared a fellowship project

Read it.

Richard Schoenbaum, D.D.S's profile has been updated

Connect with Richard Schoenbaum, D.D.S

Seema Yasmin has shared a fellowship project

Read it.

William Heisel has shared a blog post

Read it.
More Member Activities

Follow Us