Doctors may appear invincible to psychological and emotional pain given the highly stressful environment that they work in every day of their life. Trauma, dreadful diseases, and even death are on their plate every single day, what else could emotionally shock them?
A medical malpractice lawsuit though can be the Achilles heel of any high flying physician. It can bring out the best of the worst in them. They could undergo so much distress that their work and personal life can be heavily impacted by the charges.
The US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health has published a study stating the psychological impact of a malpractice lawsuit on health professionals
“More than 95% of physicians react to being sued by experiencing periods of emotional distress during all or portions of the lengthy process of litigation.1 This may begin immediately on being served with the complaint by a sense of outrage, shock, or dread about the personal and financial effects of the eventual outcome. This is the first reaction in a series that is similar to those that accompany any major life event (box 2).2 Feelings of intense anger, frustration, inner tension, and insomnia are frequent throughout this period.”
Download the whole manuscript here.
Emotional Impact of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine also came up with an article that mentioned the emotional impact of a medical malpractice lawsuit on a physician. They also mentioned in their write-up that resilience has much to do about being able to cope in such a highly stressful life event. American board of professional liability attorneys
“Because of the nature of our work as physicians, we are isolated, and malpractice isolates us further. Because of embarrassment, we avoid talking with our colleagues and managers. Legal counsel reminds us to correspond with no one about the details of the case. Spouses and friends may offer support, but it is difficult— perhaps impossible—to be reassured.”
Check out the rest of the write-up here.
The AMA Journal of Ethics meanwhile shared the concept of Defensive Medicine which arose following the spate of medical malpractice cases filed against health practitioners.
“The goal of defensive medicine is to ensure that, if the patient later sues, the physician has gone above and beyond what is required. Defensive medicine is directly traced to medical malpractice law—without the threat of litigation, there would be no reason to practice defensively.”
Read more information on this from the original article here.
Medical malpractice lawsuits indeed takes a huge toll on any health practitioner. It is important to get all the support one can get, foremost from a good medical malpractice criminal defense attorney.