Facing a malpractice claim is a dreaded but common thing for any physician. Waiting for resolutions of these claims can take a lot of time and potentially affect his average medical career. In fact, open claims can take as much as a third of his career. Malpractice claims can put physicians, patients and also the whole legal system under significant stress owing to the amount of time needed to process them. Factors like the likelihood of a claim and the amount of time spend on the legal process; both contribute to the time spent by a physician on a malpractice claim.
Both physicians and patients are severely affected by the prevailing litigation system. A physician ends up spending lot more time and energy on a medical malpractice claim and is left with little to contribute to his actual job of caring for his patients. Increased patients mean increased claims and lesser time available for treatment. Physicians have to handle emotional cost due to fear of claim and loss of confidence. Patients get subjected to increased financial and physical costs by going through unnecessary and excessive tests.
There are certain positive actions that can be taken to make sure that only genuine cases that justify further investigation are taken seriously. Evaluation of a potential claim by a team of justice having medical and legal expertise, along with impartial physicians appointed by the court can be beneficial. Changing the attitude of people to avoid false claims can be useful. Timely disclosure of any medical errors by physicians can lead to faster resolution. Conversely, prolonged cases can lead to unfair compensation to the patient. Both physicians and patients need to show cooperation, commitment and compromise to make this work for them. Hence, it is imperative to act now to bring about the required change.