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Do's and don'ts for physicians who are sued
According to Ken Braxton, JD, a health care attorney at Dallas-based Stewart Stimmel, ED physicians, when notified of a possible lawsuit or claim, should avoid all of the following actions:
• Never alter documentation when notified of a possible lawsuit or claim.
"The patient's attorney probably already has the medical records, so any alteration or addendum will be immediately used to allege a coverup," says Braxton.
• Never call the patient or their attorney to try to talk them out of the lawsuit.
"This amounts to free discovery for the attorney, who will more than likely let the ED physician 'spill their guts,'" says Braxton.
• Never talk to other providers involved with the care to the patient without an attorney present, other than in a peer review setting.
Braxton cautions, "All nonpeer review and nonattorney conversations with other providers are subject to discovery."
Here are three things that Braxton recommends ED physicians do if they are sued: