Skip to main content.

Center for Health Journalism

When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

Picture of Manoj Jain

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

Announcements

The 2017 California Fellowship, for California-based journalists only, will be held March 5-9, 2017 in Los Angeles. This Fellowship will focus on vulnerable populations and access to care and health care reform and innovation. We also take an in-depth look at how community conditions influence individuals' prospects for health. Each Fellow receives a $1,000 stipend to assist with the costs of reporting an ambitious Fellowship project on a California health issue, as well as six months of mentoring by a Senior Fellow. Deadline to apply is Dec. 1. For more information, go here.

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Member Activities

Jacob Anderson-Minshall has shared a story

Read it.

William Heisel has shared a microsite blog

Read it.

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

Salim Lewis joined the community

Connect with Salim Lewis

Dhiren Mistry joined the community

Connect with Dhiren Mistry
More Member Activities

Follow Us

Facebook


Twitter

CHJ Icon
ReportingHealth