Which Patients Sue?

Here is a really interesting article in the American Medical News about spotting which patients are likely to sue.   Below are some highlights I thought were interesting:

  •  “Then there’s going to be a subset of individuals who are more likely to sue than others. There are individuals who walk in and are ready to be unhappy. That’s a reality, but that’s part of the human condition.”
  • People who have higher social statuses, live in urban areas and have higher education also are more likely to file claims.
  • Another contributing factor is whether the patient personally knows a doctor or attorney.
  • “Now more than ever before, patients are well-informed, and [there] is more shared decision-making” among doctors and patients, he said. “But the patient who is very demanding about what they want and expect you to give them, ‘or else,’ puts you on guard.”
  • Other legally risky behaviors include patients who ask for a diagnosis beyond a physician’s expertise, who complain about being “mistreated” by other doctors or who have sued past physicians.

How many of you doctors out there can think of a dozen or more patients, in your head, that match those criteria above?   That’s my gift to you.  Sleep well tonight.

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