Search form


When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

When Patients Sue Doctors: How Communication Could Help

Some months ago, the receptionist in my clinic handed me a registered letter. The name of the sender seemed familiar. "Dear Sir," the letter read. "Please be advised that this letter serves as official notice that I am considering a potential claim against you in a medical Malpractice claim in regard to my husband. . . ." I stood, stunned. My white coat, which held the daily tools of my profession - my list of patients, the Sanford antibiotic manual, a black stethoscope - felt extraordinarily heavy.

While my receptionist and staff made themselves busy and waited for my reaction, I struggled to recall the patient, so many patients ago . . . and my alleged misdeed. I checked the administrative data, which showed that the man had died about a year before. Had I missed a lab test among the hundreds that I order each week? Had I failed to read a blood culture report? Had some error of mine resulted in his death?

Continue reading about my personal experience with our medical malpractice system - and how simple communication might help -- at The Washington Post.

Leave A Comment


The deadline is approaching to apply for our new all-expenses-paid Fellowship in December 2015, which will introduce 10 California journalists to the wealth of health data sources that can inform and elevate their reporting. The Fellowship includes a $1,000 reporting stipend and six months of mentoring.


Member Activities

Anna Romano has shared a blog post

Read it.

William Heisel has shared a blog post

Read it.

Joseph Oppong Brenya's profile has been updated

Connect with Joseph Oppong Brenya

Amy DePaul has shared a blog post

Read it.

Jill Lasak joined the community

Connect with Jill Lasak
More Member Activities

Follow Us


Reporting on Underserved Communities

How can journalists and foundations collaborate to deepen and improve reporting on underserved communities? Our USC Annenberg School of Journalism program in collaboration with The California Endowment, the Wyncote Foundation and Media Impact Funders, convened 75 leaders from both fields.

Read More »