NEW FROM THE OMS GUARDIAN
BEING A DEFENDANT IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT
Nicholas Bournias, DDS, Private Practice, OMSNIC Insured
In spite of best efforts, some oral and maxillofacial surgeons will have a medical malpractice law suit
filed against them at some point in their careers. Roughly 5% of medical malpractice claims find
their way to trial, and I happened to be involved in one of them. The details of my particular case
are not as important as my experience navigating through the process. There are several “Reality
Checks” I learned along the way that helped achieve a successful outcome. While I cannot say for
certain that one can ever be truly prepared to go from doctor to defendant, I hope that sharing my
experience will somehow benefit others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Reality Check One: The process is slow.
The wheels of justice turn very slowly through many phases. Depending on your particular
jurisdiction, it can take years before a case is actually tried. The immediate reaction to a lawsuit
is a sense of urgency and haste. After all, in our world as surgeons a problem is identified,
solved, and then it is over. In a legal situation, you have little control over how fast or slow the
proceedings go, and you have to come to terms with it.
The slow periods provide an opportunity for personal
preparation, which is important for a successful outcome.
To combat anxiety and depression, I kept an active fitness
regimen, which was enough to help manage my stress.
I also found helpful information on OMSNIC’s website.
There is a link to PhysicianLitigationStress.org that
contains a great deal of information for doctors who are in the midst of litigation and looking for
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