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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 support.

 

 

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