No person is perfect, and medical professionals are no exception to the rule. But tricky diagnoses, operations, and other medical complications are not easily forgiven by patients whose lives have been altered. Doctors and nurses can find themselves in the courtroom, up against a personal injury attorney, relying on a medical malpractice defense attorney for legal expertise. The working relationship between the two professions is often strained, but some doctors, having left private practice to bridge the gap between the hospital and the courtroom, are now putting their medical know-how to good use, advising doctors on the best ways to avoid malpractice lawsuits.
Expert knowledge of both fields can help MD-JDs support both the medical community as well as the legal community, medical malpractice attorneys in Fort Lauderdale say. Understanding the needs of the patient and the doctor, as well as the various laws regarding confidentiality and doctor responsibility, is a tremendous asset, and these doctors-turned-lawyers are offering their help to former colleagues.
Lawyers who have worked as doctors advise their former colleagues to be wary of electronic health records, especially as more hospitals and clinics embrace keeping records and patient information online. As hospitals update their technology, administrators have begun to implement electronic communications between doctors and nurses – often forcing nurses to wait until instructions are entered into the online record before they can change a patient’s treatment method or administer a new dosage of medicine.
But MD-JDs caution doctors against relying on this procedure. The use of electronic communication eliminates the back-and-forth discussion that surrounds a patient’s treatment – the questions between doctor and nurse that can serve as a “double-check” method to ensure that the medical team is exploring all ideas to find the best method of treatment. Medical malpractice defense attorneys say that a doctor who has solid communication skills with his team can often carry that comfort level into his relationship with his patient.
An honest, comfortable doctor/patient relationship can be a saving grace when something goes wrong with a patient’s diagnosis or treatment. Doctors now in the law field know that their clients often bring lawsuits against the doctor of a case gone wrong, when the client feels that the doctor has abandoned them or lied to them after an error, or been arrogant and condescending during the patient’s stay. A caring, friendly rapport between doctor and patient could go a long way toward cultivating trust, and may even protect the doctor in the event of a mistake. Patients who think that their doctors care about them are much less likely to sue.
MD-JDs also advise that doctors keep an open mind when they diagnose and treat patients. Ruling out the worst case scenarios can save doctors the trouble later, when an unexpected complication, such as lung disease in a non-smoker, or a 30-year-old having a heart attack, comes up. Communication and second opinions are especially helpful in these scenarios, medical malpractice defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale say, so that the primary care physician has outside opinions rather than his own assumptions. From outside the hospital setting, the importance of open communication becomes even more apparent.
At Florida law firm Lubell Rosen, the team of expert medical malpractice defense lawyers represents doctors and professionals who are facing legal action due to a missed diagnosis, failed treatment, or any other medical complication.