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Advice needed for malpractice suit

Home Practice Management Advice needed for malpractice suit

  • Avatar ajm184 
    Participant
    Status: Other Professional
    Posts: 612
    Joined: 07/14/2017
    Another annoying aspect of this is because of the suit, I can’t apply for a mortgage

    Click to expand…

    Find another lender.  Unless you are naked (no malpractice insurance), there is a close to zero chance that a negative outcome will get to you personally from a financial perspective.

    Couple thoughts on the suit:

    a. Hospital’s is involved b/c of their ‘deep pockets’, though given the circumstances described it sound like you are ‘driving the bus’.

    b. I would want to understand very quickly from your console; are you the person who has the fight or settle decision?  Obviously, console will provide their opinion/recommendation based upon the case specifics.  If console is not calling the suit ‘highly defensible’ and or is hemming about who decides, I would consider asking insurance for seperate console.  Asking only after deposition’s have been completed and any defense third party defense ‘expert witnesses’ have weighted in with respect to your portion of the case.  This way you have a close to complete understanding of the case and probability of winning and the risk of a loss.

    c. The conflict of interest may arise where plaintiff is offering to settle for say $20K (less than anticipated cost of defending you in court), though the suit may still be ‘highly defensible’ in you and your console’s mind.  This where who makes the decision is critical to understand.

    #237413 Reply
    Avatar jhwkr542 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1288
    Joined: 02/15/2016

    I’m hospital-based path, so I’ll offer a few words of encouragement since I diagnose hundreds of new cancer every year and see all sorts of cancer presentations:

    1. Everyone “misses” cancer. I don’t know how many childhood lymphoblastic lymphomas I’ve seen treated with antibiotics before diagnosis, but it seems like most of them. Another case recently, it took two weeks in the hospital before they attributed a patient’s large PE to the BFM in his mediastinum.

    2. It doesn’t actually sound like there was any evidence the patient actually had cancer when you saw them. If they’re not clinically apparent, what are you going to do? All you can do is practice evidence based medicine. If you’re a PCP, all you can do is work up symptoms or do the appropriate age-based screening. You can’t start imaging people for no reason. If you start being overly aggressive, you’ll find things that might not be anything but does more harm than good (incidentalomas, cysts, etc).

    3. Even if caught earlier, it doesn’t mean a patient would have a better outcome. Some cancers are just bad. It’s why increasing melanoma screening and diagnosis haven’t made a significant impact on melanoma death rates. It’s why the USPSTF doesn’t recommend annual mammograms at 40 whereas ACOG does. It’s why some guys don’t even have their prostate cancers removed.

    4. This mistake doesn’t define you as a physician. Patient satisfaction surveys do.

    5. And lastly, it’s why WCI thanks us at the start of every podcast. Because we work our asses off and at the end of the day, somebody whom we saw years ago developed cancer is now suing us for millions of dollars.

    So thank you for what you do.

    Avatar wideopenspaces 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1095
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    I guess part of my frustration is that I’ve always took the time to talk to the patient and his family. After labs were done I’d call the HCP to discuss the labs, and there was never any bad interactions and they always seemed appreciative… So this has taken me quite by surprise and really has shaken me in terms of my faith in my fellow man and makes me want to just become financially independent as fast as possible and quit the field so that I won’t have to go through something like this again. (I’ve realized I’ve gotten quite risk adverse as I get older lol).

    Another annoying aspect of this is because of the suit, I can’t apply for a mortgage as the lenders want the suit to be resolved before they approve me of a loan.

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    I totally understand your initial reaction.  I too have been named in a suit ( ongoing for several years now,  I am outpatient psychiatrist at academic medical center,  name was dropped from case but still involved in the process and I have to explain it on credentialing for the rest of my career). Initially I took it very personally and it impacted my trust in my patients. However,  it’s about money to them,  and a way for them to regain a sense of control over something that is uncontrollable. They want to feel like this outcome could have been prevented,  because it sucks and it’s terrifying to think that sometimes bad things just happen. It really isn’t about you at all. I decided to practice in a less risky environment (VA) because it has added a burden to my shoulders,  that I had previously been blissfully unaware of, and that I’d like a break from. Definitely reach out to trusted colleagues for support and maybe even therapy if it’s impacting you long term on a regular basis. I do think you are fine with the same attorney as the hospital and that this case will likely get tossed. Hang in there in the meantime.

     

    About the house- we bought a new one last summer and had no issues with financing related to the lawsuit so I would keep looking around.  Maybe meet with a mortgage broker that you can explain the situation to. I don’t see any reason for you to put your life on hold for this lawsuit.

    #237462 Reply
    Avatar G 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 1753
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    “So this has taken me quite by surprise and really has shaken me in terms of my faith in my fellow man and makes me want to just become financially independent as fast as possible and quit the field so that I won’t have to go through something like this again. (I’ve realized I’ve gotten quite risk adverse as I get older lol).”

    Yup. Normal reaction, but yup.

    “Another annoying aspect of this is because of the suit, I can’t apply for a mortgage as the lenders want the suit to be resolved before they approve me of a loan.”

    Say what? Fingers crossed that you are dropped quickly, but this could be years til resolved. It’s been years since I applied for a mortgage; is there a disclosure required for a “maybe possibly someday in a few years my insurance company will ask me to go to court?” Find another lender.

    #237482 Reply
    Avatar ctt209 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 11
    Joined: 12/07/2017

    Thanks guys for all the great advice and support! I feel much better now knowing I’m not going through this alone and that other ppl have survived and come out (relatively) unscathed by this type of set back. Funny thing was I was actually thinking of switching to looking for a job at the VA for the mere fact of malpractice protection, but decided in the end against it for now since I really like my current job, and figured it’d be like the tail wagging the dog if I were to up end my career purely for that reason (at least for now).

    In terms of the mortgage, which lenders have you guys dealt with that were ok loaning to you with a pending suit? I tried chase and quicken loans and when I disclosed this to both companies they both said they would pass on the mortgage until after the lawsuit was resolved.

    #237499 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6084
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    Another annoying aspect of this is because of the suit, I can’t apply for a mortgage as the lenders want the suit to be resolved before they approve me of a loan.

    Click to expand…

    This cannot be true, I mean did you offer up this information? Ive never seen this asked and I’ve never heard of it before, and I have bought 3 houses (and got a new job) while having a suit pending (they can take forever).

    Forget this book you’re reading, it sounds scarier than necessary. From all accounts, you’re fine, this is part of the gig unfortunately. I think hospitals used to or had a rep for settling since it was “cheaper” but I think its changed since it seems people fight hard now, though no data on that.

    #237506 Reply
    Liked by PhotonsRGR8
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6084
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    In terms of the mortgage, which lenders have you guys dealt with that were ok loaning to you with a pending suit? I tried chase and quicken loans and when I disclosed this to both companies they both said they would pass on the mortgage until after the lawsuit was resolved.

    Click to expand…

    Dude, seriously. What are you thinking? You have no obligation and it makes zero sense to disclose this. Take the weekend to realize how arbitrary this is, and really look at the case and see if a random other doctor saw the pt that day with those exact symptoms, would they have jumped to the dx they eventually got? The answer is almost certainly no. You are not beholden to info you dont have.

    Really need to relax, I know suits suck, I’ve dealt with it myself, but after realizing the above (you did all right stuff, etc..) it takes a smidgen of burden from you, and if it was something to fight might even give you some gusto. Which, doesnt sound like it is from your part in it. Malpractice is an egregious standard of care, most people and lawyers even dont understand it, its not complications or bad outcomes.

    #237507 Reply
    Avatar ctt209 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 11
    Joined: 12/07/2017

    In terms of the mortgage, which lenders have you guys dealt with that were ok loaning to you with a pending suit? I tried chase and quicken loans and when I disclosed this to both companies they both said they would pass on the mortgage until after the lawsuit was resolved.

    Click to expand…

    Dude, seriously. What are you thinking? You have no obligation and it makes zero sense to disclose this. Take the weekend to realize how arbitrary this is, and really look at the case and see if a random other doctor saw the pt that day with those exact symptoms, would they have jumped to the dx they eventually got? The answer is almost certainly no. You are not beholden to info you dont have.

    Really need to relax, I know suits suck, I’ve dealt with it myself, but after realizing the above (you did all right stuff, etc..) it takes a smidgen of burden from you, and if it was something to fight might even give you some gusto. Which, doesnt sound like it is from your part in it. Malpractice is an egregious standard of care, most people and lawyers even dont understand it, its not complications or bad outcomes.

    Click to expand…

    Hey man, yeah i wish it was optional, believe me! But if you look into it when you apply for a mortgage there’s a question box you have to check if you have/know of any pending lawsuits/judgements against you. My issue is that usually the bank cares only if the suit is above my policy limit, the crappy part is that in my state the plantiff usually doesn’t reveal the amount they’re suing for until after the case is settled. So that’s where the hang up as been for the underwriters of the banks, since there’s no technical way they’d know whether or not it’ll be settled under policy limits. Obviously realistically speaking it’s very unlikely to be above it, but that’s where I’ve been having a lot of trouble. Here’s an article linking to what I’m talking about

    https://www.newcastle.loans/mortgage-guide/mortgagequestions-can-i-get-a-mortgage-if-im-party-to-a-lawsuit

    #237518 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6084
    Joined: 01/12/2016

    In terms of the mortgage, which lenders have you guys dealt with that were ok loaning to you with a pending suit? I tried chase and quicken loans and when I disclosed this to both companies they both said they would pass on the mortgage until after the lawsuit was resolved.

    Click to expand…

    Dude, seriously. What are you thinking? You have no obligation and it makes zero sense to disclose this. Take the weekend to realize how arbitrary this is, and really look at the case and see if a random other doctor saw the pt that day with those exact symptoms, would they have jumped to the dx they eventually got? The answer is almost certainly no. You are not beholden to info you dont have.

    Really need to relax, I know suits suck, I’ve dealt with it myself, but after realizing the above (you did all right stuff, etc..) it takes a smidgen of burden from you, and if it was something to fight might even give you some gusto. Which, doesnt sound like it is from your part in it. Malpractice is an egregious standard of care, most people and lawyers even dont understand it, its not complications or bad outcomes.

    Click to expand…

    Hey man, yeah i wish it was optional, believe me! But if you look into it when you apply for a mortgage there’s a question box you have to check if you have/know of any pending lawsuits/judgements against you. My issue is that usually the bank cares only if the suit is above my policy limit, the crappy part is that in my state the plantiff usually doesn’t reveal the amount they’re suing for until after the case is settled. So that’s where the hang up as been for the underwriters of the banks, since there’s no technical way they’d know whether or not it’ll be settled under policy limits. Obviously realistically speaking it’s very unlikely to be above it, but that’s where I’ve been having a lot of trouble. Here’s an article linking to what I’m talking about

    https://www.newcastle.loans/mortgage-guide/mortgagequestions-can-i-get-a-mortgage-if-im-party-to-a-lawsuit

    Click to expand…

    Thats not pertinent for doctors. Also, you worked for a hospital system, usually anything above limits is on them not you so again, wouldnt apply.

    Have you actually applied for a mortgage or did you just search it? Bought 3 houses and dont recall a single one asking such a thing, but could have over looked it. I mean if this were true doctors wouldnt be able to get houses for significant portions of their careers as a single case can take 4-6 years to resolve.

    #237537 Reply
    Avatar ctt209 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 11
    Joined: 12/07/2017
    medical school scholarship sponsor

    I actually applied to both those lenders and that’s what they told me both times =/

    #237544 Reply
    Avatar HMdocinPA 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 5
    Joined: 09/11/2018

    When I was refinancing my mortgage, the bank asked on the application “are you subject to a civil lawsuit at this time?” or something similar. As I was involved in a malpractice suit, I responded “yes”. All they required was a letter from my lawyer saying that I had malpractice insurance coverage and there was minimal / no-risk to my own finances. My lawyer did this, and the loan was approved without any further question. I was dropped from the suit on the day of arbitration, but this was 3-4 years after the initial complaint was filed.

    #237750 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod, ctt209

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