Why Do Patients Sue Their Doctors?

In his book “Blink,” author Malcolm Gladwell delves into the way people make decisions, many of which involve the “adaptive unconscious.” This is the part of the brain that leaps to conclusions that we commonly refer to as “intuitive” or “gut-level” decisions. One very interesting part of the book deals with insight into why patients initiate malpractice suits against doctors. According to Gladwell’s account of the work of researcher Wendy Levinson, her interviews with physicians who have never been sued shows that they take more time with their patients, explain things better, and are far more personable. As a result, patients tend to like them better than doctors prone to condescension. In short, patients do not sue doctors they like, even if they make mistakes.

NOTE: Even though a professional (including accountants, architects, dentists, real estate agents, and others) may have Errors and Omissions Liability Insurance and may be found innocent of malpractice, legal costs can be substantial. Learn more about business liability insurance.