The relationship between a doctor and a patient is a complex one, due in large part to the intimate nature of healthcare and medicine, and the trust a patient must place in his doctor to do what is best. Just as patients rely on doctors for their health, doctors need patients to keep their practices going. And in today’s world, healthcare lawyers in Fort Lauderdale say, it is sometimes hard for doctors to draw the line between pandering to a patient’s wants, and taking care of his actual needs.
Now, as the field of medicine and care faces more changes, and an even more litigious society, healthcare professionals are questioning what the best course of action is to ensure quality care: to gratify patients or uphold medical standards. Often, the two goals do not meet, and doctors are left with a difficult, and potentially dangerous, choice to make.
On the one hand, doctors must always be working in the patient’s interest. This means that every step of the diagnostic and treatment process, from the first visit to the last, should be completed with the patient’s healthcare needs in mind. But this focus may not always be in keeping with what the patient believes that he or she wants. As Dr. William Sonnenberg said in a recent debate, “[Doctors] must have the ability to deny treatment for a patient’s own good. Patients aren’t the best judge of what is best for them.”
Although a doctor is the most qualified person to dispense medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment options, a dissatisfied patient can be disastrous for a doctor’s reputation and continued employment. Patients who believe they are being mistreated – regardless of the actual circumstances – can take their claim to court. Even the threat of a lawsuit is sometimes enough to do significant damage to a smaller practice’s finances and reputation.
Some doctors have taken to bending the rules to comply with outrageous patient demands. They will write prescriptions for unneeded medications to soothe a client’s claims of back pain, or order expensive tests to rule out a client’s believed illnesses, even if they do not see any physical evidence. The fear that a patient will take issue with the doctor’s professional opinion and cause legal trouble, keeps some doctors from upholding the standard of care. This is a method that healthcare attorneys in Fort Lauderdale say is actually doing more harm to the practice of medicine in the United States.
Doctors are split on the usefulness of patient satisfaction scores. Some consider these scores to be of utmost importance for securing more business, and evaluating their own practices. Others see the scores as a stepping stone, to makes plans for a more educated public. These medical professionals believe that the more their patients know, the more they will accept a doctor’s decision as the most medically sound and viable option.
At Lubell Rosen, our Florida healthcare attorneys represent doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field who are facing lawsuits or legal action due to their decision to commit to a higher standard of care. If you need protection or representation from a dissatisfied patient, contact a Lubell Rosen attorney for a consultation today. We have office locations in New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Florida.