|February 2008 · Vol. 20, No. 02
FOCUS ON PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY
Got malpractice distress? You can help yourself survive
Prepare for the stress of being sued by knowing what to expect and how to respond
A malpractice lawsuit will challenge your self-esteem and ideals and may bring on feelings of failure and shame
You’ll learn that litigation isn’t like providing medical care: It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and can rob you of a sense of control
Sued physicians often experience a diagnosable psychiatric illness or behavioral problem, including major depression and PTSD
About 70% of malpractice complaints result in no settlement payment, and physicians win in 80% of cases that do go to trial
Dr. Charles is Professor of Psychiatry (emerita), Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago.
The author reports no financial relationships relevant to this article.
“Immediately after the event I was a wreck. I vaguely remember talking to the family; I don’t know if I was much use to them.… That night I got drunk. It was the only way I could sleep. A sensitive colleague came and sat with me.”1