There is an increasing concern for medical negligence and malpractice claims, because they seem to take too many resources compared to the benefits they bring. That isn’t to say that we’re better off without them, or that we can avoid them entirely, but the fact that it can take years just to get to the point of claiming for compensation, that both the patient and the physician lose a lot of time with the lawsuit is just one of the reasons why these cases are sometimes unnecessary. Moreover, people rarely think about the effects that a negligence claim has over physicians themselves; it has been concluded that physicians who’ve been sued for medical negligence compensation have higher rates of suicide, or they are more prone to mistakes afterwards, as their self-confidence is decreased.
Everyone loses their confidence when they are attacked in what they are supposed to do best, and when their qualities are doubted. A physician, whose negligence led to the injury of a patient, or even worse, their death, will almost certainly suffer on a spiritual, moral and psychological level. It is ignorant not to think that a doctor suffers too, not only a professional level, but on a personal one too. Besides the fact that medical negligence compensation claims can make them lose their jobs, money or practices, doctors may also suffer the scorn of their colleagues.
While in the middle of a trial, doctors are advised not to discuss details of the case, which is why they can feel alone and alienated, and without the support of their peers. Their reputation is blemished and it can take years before patients start trusting them again, at which point it can be too late for their careers. The reason why we insist so much on the downsides of medical negligence compensation claims for doctors is that in many instances, these claims are unfruitful, superficial or frivolous. Thus, a perfectly good doctor is dragged through court without actually being guilty, and although his/her innocence may be proved, the damage was done.
The sad part is that many of these compensation claims only reach the court two years after the incident; the doctor is then expected to remember details from that case and sustain their innocence, which can prove to be difficult due to the number of cases they deal with each year. Add to that the fact that most often the better half of the compensation goes to lawyer fees and you start to wonder who the winner in these cases truly is. In conclusion, all we can do is try to prevent these situations, both as patients and doctors, and to hope that the suffering will be minimal on both sides.