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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 34-44

Republication: History of physicians fighting frivolous lawsuits: An overview

1 Department of Surgery, St. Luke's University Health Network, Bethlehem; OPUS 12 Foundation, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2 OPUS 12 Foundation, King of Prussia; Department of Surgery, Division of Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
3 Department of Surgery, St. Luke's University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA, USA
4 Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
5 OPUS 12 Foundation, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Stanislaw P Stawicki
Department of Research and Innovation, St. Luke's University Health Network, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2455-5568.188734

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Legal and medical professions are intertwined in an intimate and complex relationship. Medical malpractice arguably constitutes the biggest point of contention between the two professions. While a significant proportion of medical malpractice complaints is not frivolous and is based on appropriate research and screening criteria, most of these complaints are ultimately settled or taken to trial, with a fairly good chance that the outcome will be favorable or at least satisfactory to the involved physician. At times, the legal system fails to “filter out” frivolous cases. Such cases can and at times, do end up in court. Although majority of them are ultimately decided in favor of the defending physician, the emotional anguish and the potential damage to the physician's reputation can be significant. In addition, the spiraling costs of malpractice insurance and the fear of further malpractice insurance rate increases following a legal complaint cause many doctors to engage in costly and sometimes dangerous practice of defensive medicine. Due to the overall magnitude of the malpractice lawsuit misuse and the devastating consequences of such misuse, frustrated physicians have resorted to initiating countersuits in response to abusive and frivolous lawsuits. This review presents cases where physicians who were unfairly sued filed successful countersuits against the plaintiff's attorneys. A review of relevant medical and legal literature is also included. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Interpersonal skills and communication, Practice based learning and improvement, Professionalism. Republished with permission from: Dippolito A, Braslow B, Lombardo G, Hoddinott KM, Nace G, Stawicki SP. How David beat Goliath: History of physicians fighting frivolous lawsuits. OPUS 12 Scientist 2008;2(1):1-8.

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