By Matt Gracey
What a spicy, hot pandemic stew of lawsuits is brewing in America! This is particularly true in the healthcare world since this is a mother lode of a healthcare crisis.
Simmering now and headed to a boil are incredibly strong factors: Fear; sadness; isolation; divisiveness; suspicion; and distrustfulness of authority, of others, of scientists, of doctors, of politicians, of neighbors, of darn near everyone.
Throw in a predicted unemployment rate up to 30%, with over 36 million already out of work.
Add an economic downturn second only to the Great Depression. Economic desperation drives many lawsuits.
Sprinkle in a healthcare system very much based on employer-supplied coverage that has mostly now been terminated for the unemployed, disrupting long-term doctor / patient relationships, the best of which are the foundation of successful risk management to avoid being sued.
Add a bitterly politically divided country with a hotly contested election for our top elected positions.
Stir in a hundred-year pandemic for which we are ill prepared, as we fumble for swift, effective, coordinated responses.
Fold in a judicial system that judges doctors according to “standards of care” at a time when few standards, besides washing our hands frequently, are even agreed upon.
Overlay that now-boiling stew with the most highly litigious culture in the world, in a country that produces vast quantities of lawyers every year, with plaintiff and class-action-happy lawyers chasing dog-bite cases with billboards, mass emails, and doctors’ mistakes with letters of intent to sue.
Then throw all of that into a very-hot oven for an undetermined amount of time with highly educated doctors risking their and their families’ lives every day to help their patients.
See why we are concerned about what doctors are facing on the other side of this hot pandemic kitchen we call America?
Start now – protect your practice and yourself! Work on strengthening every one of your patient relationships, be empathetic, and be great with your communications, documentation, and expressions of care and concern. Review your med mal coverage with an expert. Dust off every risk management technique you have learned.
Most of all, remember that you are a hero and are loved.