Regaining Physician Trust after Suffering from Malpractice

Attorney Joseph Taraska

Researchers at the University of Florida concluded that about 700 patients and their families had suffered injuries caused by medical error in 2015 alone. With medical malpractice being the third leading cause of death in the United States of America, regaining trust in a physician after experiencing such situations is a well-known difficult problem. 

Respondents involved in the Florida study reported disrespect, a lack of accountability, and poor communication from their healthcare practitioners. Those who believed their providers were attempting to hide their errors were more likely to file a lawsuit. 

In order to regain trust with their new physician, Attorney Joseph Taraska explains that patients need a reliable outlet to voice their questions and concerns to that will provide trustworthy feedback about their medical situation.

Understanding Apology Laws

Patients rarely receive meaningful feedback as it is, fueling their mistrust of the healthcare system, and some states have enacted apology laws to improve the culture in the industry. 

For example, Oklahoma adopted its version of the apology law in 2015, helping physicians feel more comfortable to speak openly and honestly with their patients.

Under the legislation, medical staff can apologize to the patient and their loved ones without fear that it will be used against them in legal proceedings. In this case, apologies are inadmissible as evidence. 

Ultimately, the law is designed to provide patients with the closure and information they need while also giving healthcare providers a safety net. 

Sourcing a New Doctor After Suffering from Medical Malpractice

However, even with the apology law in place, it’s unlikely that patients will return to the same physician. While this is, of course, a natural response upon experiencing medical malpractice, sourcing a new doctor can be challenging. After all, they were hurt once and might feel like it will happen again, regardless of where they go. 

However, everybody needs a physician at some point, even after (and sometimes during) medical malpractice. So, experts have outlined a few tips to ensure patients choose a doctor they can come to trust:

Attorney Joseph Taraska

Asking for Recommendations

Patients who’ve suffered from malpractice at their previous providers will be more guarded when seeking a new physician. So, they should turn to their families and friends. 

After obtaining references from those they trust, they’re more likely to be open with their new doctor, ensuring they can receive great care.

Being Honest About Experiences

As the adage goes, “honesty is the best policy,” and the same goes when meeting with new physicians.

Patients that are worried about the healthcare system should be open about their less-than-pleasant experiences elsewhere. That way, physicians can reassure them, putting their minds at ease. 

Checking with Health Insurance Plans

Some insurance plans come with a list of viable physicians to use. Policyholders should consult the list to ensure they’re picking from tried-and-trusted healthcare professionals. 

Asking the Doctor Lots of Questions

Experts recommend asking new physicians lots of questions to understand whether they’re a good fit. Knowing everything from their level of experience in ongoing medical conditions to their training to their education allows patients to rest easier.