How malpractice suits affect physicians

A study suggests that 10 percent of physicians who were sued contemplated suicide. Poor outcomes affect more than just the patient:

One of the most feared occurrences in the life of a medical doctor is the arrival of a legal case that has been filed against him or her. Being accused of malpractice is what nightmares are made of for those of us who have practiced medicine. Perhaps the only worse event in the life of a physician is the notification of the sudden and unexpected death or illness of a close family member, a friend, or a patient.

The accusatory legal document begins with several remarks defaming the skills, education, ability, integrity, and honesty of the physician being charged. Most of these comments are exaggerations designed to attract the interest of the court, to influence future jurors, and to intimidate and dispirit the physician being sued.

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