Books such as this one are deceptively difficult to create. The general subject is neither happy, nor easy, nor most anyone's idea of fun. M- practice litigation, however, has become a central fact of existence in the practice of medicine today. This tsunami of lawsuits has led to a high volume of irreconcilable rhetoric and ultimately threatens the stability of the entire health care system. Our goal has been to provide a source of reliable information on a subject of importance to all who provide me- cal care in the United States. The book is divided into four sections. Part I gives an overview of insurance in general and discusses the organization of professional - ability insurance companies in particular. Part II focuses on the litigation process itself with views from the defense and plaintiff bar, and the physician as both expert and defendant. Part III looks at malpractice litigation from the viewpoint of the practicing physician. Some of the chapters are broadly relevant to all doctors--the rise of e-medicine, and the importance of effective communication, for example. The other ch- ters are constructed around individual medical specialties, but discuss issues that are of potential interest to all. Part IV looks ahead. The Case for Legal Reform presents changes in medical-legal jurisprudence that can be of immediate benefit. The final two chapters take a broader perspective on aspects of our entire health care system and its interface with law and public policy.
From the Back Cover
What is behind the medical malpractice crisis? What legal reforms would alleviate the crisis? What can you do to prevent litigation? What do you do when you have been sued? Are there alternatives to the current system? How does the medical malpractice insurance industry function? In Medical Malpractice: A Physician's Sourcebook, a panel of physicians, attorneys, academics, researchers, and insurance industry experts consider these and other questions about the origin, nature, and ramifications of the medical malpractice litigation crisis, as well as possible solutions and alternatives to the current system. The authors focus on the clinical face of litigation from the perspective of the practicing physician in a variety of specialties, ranging from family and emergency medicine to anesthesiology, obstetrics, gynecology, and plastic surgery. Special consideration is given to breast cancer and Pap smear litigation, risk management for the family physician, and the importance of effective patient communication. Additional legal chapters examine the litigation process itself, offering insight into winning medical malpractice lawsuits, the role of the physician as expert witness or defendant, the process of discovery and deposition, and how a plaintiff's attorney views risk reduction. Public policy experts argue the case for legal reform, suggest changes in medical-legal jurisprudence that can be of immediate benefit, and reflect on the broader problems of our entire health care system and its interface with law and social policy. Authoritative and wide-ranging, Medical Malpractice: A Physician's Sourcebook gets to the heart of issues facing physicians and surgeons today. It focuses on the practical aspects of medical malpractice lawsuits, and prepares physicians and surgeons to participate in the public policy debate by addressing current topics that will help them understand the crisis, the threat to healthcare access, and the possibilities for legal reform.